50 years ago, scientists sequenced a gene for the first time – Science News Magazine

50 years ago, scientists sequenced a gene for the first time – Science News Magazine

Support nonprofit journalism.
Within five decades, scientists went from sequencing a single gene to sequencing the entire human genome.
Malte Muelller/fStop/Getty

Molecular biology’s flower child Science News, January 6, 1973       
During the past several years, some artificial genes have been synthesized…. But no one had unraveled a real gene that dictates the production of a protein. Now researchers … have done just that…. There is little doubt that sequencing of genes holds powerful ramifications for the advance of medical science.    
A new era of genetics research dawned when scientists reported that they had deciphered the building blocks of a gene belonging to a virus. (The gene itself looks flowerlike when folded up.) In the decades since, scientists have rendered genetic blueprints, or genomes, for entire organisms across the tree of life.
In 2001, the Human Genome Project released a rough draft of our collective genome. The master blueprint was finally completed last year (SN: 4/23/22, p. 6). Access to the human genome has led to powerful medical advances, including the development of targeted gene therapies and screenings for rare disorders (SN: 3/27/21, p. 10). In the future, people may routinely have their genomes sequenced to monitor health.
Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at feedback@sciencenews.org
J. Arehart-Treichel. Molecular biology’s flower child. Science News, Vol. 103, January 6, 1973, p. 12.    
Cassie Martin is an associate editor. She has a bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University.
Science News was founded in 1921 as an independent, nonprofit source of accurate information on the latest news of science, medicine and technology. Today, our mission remains the same: to empower people to evaluate the news and the world around them. It is published by the Society for Science, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education (EIN 53-0196483).
© Society for Science & the Public 2000–2023. All rights reserved.
Subscribers, enter your e-mail address for full access to the Science News archives and digital editions.
Not a subscriber?
Become one now.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *