In 1953, Watson and Crick published a paper on the helical structure of DNA,* and within a few years, the full implications of DNA translation into protein were understood. It was clear that the sequencing of DNA would lead to a better understanding of evolution and genetic diseases. Although classical methods of DNA sequencing were laborious, researchers steadily added new sequences to the database. In 1980, the first automated DNA sequencers became available, and by the end of that year, a public repository of DNA sequences was established (GenBank). Figure 17.18 shows the number of DNA sequences deposited into GenBank as a function of the year. With the advent of automated DNA sequencers, the dream of mapping the entire three-billion base pair human genome seemed within reach, and in 1998, the US Congress funded a Human Genome Project (HGP) coordinated by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. A large part of the early work of the HGP was devoted to the development of improved technologies for accelerating the sequencing of the genome. One of the fruits of this endeavor was the rapid advancement of capillary electrophoresis (CE). The impact of CE on the HGP is clearly evident in Figure 17.18, where you can see the slope of the trend line increase with the introduction of commercially available CE instruments. The rate of GenBank deposits has quadrupled since the introduction of commercially available CE instruments.

Figure 17.18