October 15, 1997

Molecular NeurogeneticsThe Genome Is Settling the Issue

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Tex. Dr Rosenberg is also editor of the Archives of Neurology.

JAMA. 1997;278(15):1282-1283. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550150086041

The Human Genome Project is scheduled to complete the sequencing of the entire human genome in the early 21st century. When completed, the structural details of the 3 billion nucleotides in the DNA that make up our genome will be provided. Then the Human Biology Project is planned to define the functional importance of the estimated 70 000 genes that are present and expressed within the human brain. Molecular details of genes that encode for cell structure, neurotransmitters, trophic and adhesion molecules, and regulatory proteins will be identified and explained. Currently, detailed information is available for approximately 1000 to 2000 structural and regulatory genes that are active within the brain. Thus, there are at least 68000 genes about which we have little or no information, but that are contributing to brain function and neurological disease. That is a humbling statistic and points out that molecular and genetic neurology is in