I know that the reference human genome is complied from DNA portions from different people, most of whom were European. Do you know how many of them were involved? Do you know which ones were involved? Perhaps scientists like James Watson and George Church's DNA were in the reference genome. Also, I would assume that the NIH funded Human Genome Project's reference genome must be slightly different from the privately funded one.


1 Answer 1


tl;dr: In the Human Genome Project, they used the DNA of four people (though one male provided >70% of DNA. The Celera genome was compiled from five people.

In the [...] Human Genome Project (HGP), [...] scientists used white blood cells from the blood of two male and two female donors (randomly selected from 20 of each) -- each donor yielding a separate DNA library. One of these libraries (RP11 [anonymous donor from Buffalo, NY]) was used considerably more than others, due to quality considerations.


In the Celera Genomics private-sector project, DNA from five different individuals were used for sequencing. The lead scientist of Celera Genomics at that time, Craig Venter, later acknowledged (in a public letter to the journal Science) that his DNA was one of 21 samples in the pool, five of which were selected for use.

On September 4, 2007, a team led by Craig Venter published his complete DNA sequence,[21] unveiling the six-billion-nucleotide genome of a single individual for the first time.)

Source: Wikipedia

  • $\begingroup$ Can you please give me a link to the source of this text? $\endgroup$ Dec 19, 2011 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ @GerganaVandova: Please follow the Wikipedia link. If you want original references, have a look at References 17-21. $\endgroup$
    – Jonas
    Dec 19, 2011 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ @GerganaVandova: If the HGP can track down RP11, or any other of the chosen donors, then they did a poor job at anonymizing the donors and might be sued for that. With Celera, who knows who might know? I'd almost bet that Venter was one of the five; I guess it may be possible to try and find out by aligning the Celera genome to the Venter genome. $\endgroup$
    – Jonas
    Dec 19, 2011 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ @GerganaVandova: Yes, it is $\endgroup$
    – Jonas
    Dec 20, 2011 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand the point of this thread. The question was asked, and the accepted answer is just lifted from wikipedia. Why not just look in wikipedia in the first place? Is this the purpose of SE? $\endgroup$
    – Poshpaws
    Dec 20, 2011 at 22:58

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