Much publicity was given to the announcements of the draft human genome, and then its formal publication, but the final version will be officially launched on Monday in Washington DC.

“What we’ve got now is what we’ll have for all eternity,” says Francis Collins, director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute and the head of the consortium of 16 international institutions that collaborated to sequence the code.

Now, there are no substantial holes left in the string of three billion base units that make up our chromosomes and determine our biology. There are still parts that are technically unsequenceable, says Collins, “but it’s only about 1.5 per cent. That’s what we called the finishing line when we began this enterprise, and now we’ve actually done it.”

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