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Human Genome Lab Groundbreaking

In the Fall of 1995 Berkeley Lab held a groundbreaking ceremony to start construction of a new Human Genome Laboratory. The new Laboratory will bring together under one roof all of the many research teams that make up Berkeley Lab's Human Genome Center. The construction marks another milestone in the history of the Human Genome Project, the national effort to decipher the human genetic code.

The Human Genome Project is a massive undertaking, spearheaded by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, which requires "mapping" the location of some 100,000 genes along the 23 pairs of human chromosomes, then "sequencing," or determining the order of the three billion base pairs of nucleotides that make up these chromosomes. Berkeley Lab is host to one of three genome centers established nationwide for the purpose of constructing these high-resolution genetic maps and developing new technologies that will help bring the genome project to a successful conclusion.

The information gained from the genome project will provide biological and medical researchers with an unprecedented asset for the diagnosis and prevention of cancer and thousands of other diseases that occur because of a breakdown in the genetic process.

Berkeley Lab's Human Genome Laboratory will be three stories high and have an area of 44,000 square feet. Inside will be space for mapping, sequencing, and cloning activities; biochemistry studies; data processing facilities; and cell and tissue culture facilities. Construction is expected to be completed in 1997.