A year ago, a group of scientists convened in New York City to discuss an audacious plan: construct an entire human genome from scratch. The proposal was billed as a sequel to the Human Genome Project, the nearly $3 billion effort to sequence, or read, a human genome from start to finish for the first time. Now proficient in reading genomes, the scientists wanted to begin writing them.
That New York gathering was the second meeting of what has come to be known as Genome Project-write, or GP-write. This month, GP-write participants assembled for a third time, at Harvard Medical School. The motley crew—100-plus educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, ethicists, lawyers, programmers, and scientists—laid out the challenges they face while also presenting the beginnings of a strategy to move the project forward.
“We have lofty goals and don’t know how to accomplish most of them,” said Jeffrey A. Schloss, a former director at the National Human Genome Research Institute. “I actually think this project is way more difficult” than sequencing the first human genome, he added.
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