[Back to Number 10 ToC] [Back to Journal Contents] [Back to Biokhimiya Home page]
[View Full Article] [Download Reprint (PDF)]

What Can Medicine Learn from the Human DNA Sequence?

E. Hofmann

University of Leipzig, Medical Faculty, Institute of Biochemistry, Liebigstr. 16, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany; E-mail: EberhardRenate.Hofmann@t-online.de

Received April 27, 2001
The cooperation of biochemistry with clinical medicine consists of two overlapping temporal phases. Phase 1 of the cooperation, which still is not finished, is characterized by joint work on the pathogenesis and diagnostics of systemic metabolic diseases, whereas in phase 2 the cooperation on tissue and cell specific as well as on molecular diseases is prevailing. In view of the conceptual revolution and shift in paradigm, which biochemistry and medicine are presently experiencing, the content of cooperation between the two disciplines will profoundly change. It will become deeply influenced by the results of the research into the human genome and human proteome. Biochemistry will strongly be occupied to relate the thousands of protein coding genes to the structure and function of the encoded proteins, and medicine will be concerned in finding new protein markers for diagnostics, to identify novel drug targets, and to investigate, for example, the proteomes of the variety of tumors to aid tumor classification, to mention only a few areas of interest which medicine will have in the progress of human genome research. The review summarizes the recent achievements in sequencing the human DNA as published in February 2001 by the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and Celera Genomics and discusses their significance in respect to the further development of molecular, in particular genetic, medicine as an interdisciplinary field of the modern clinical sciences. Only biochemistry can provide the conceptual and experimental basis for the causal understanding of biological mechanisms as encoded in the genome of an organism.
KEY WORDS: human genome, human DNA sequence, genomics, proteomics, protein-coding genes, non-protein-coding genes, repetitive DNA, molecular medicine