Monday, June 26, 2000

June 26, 2000

"Today, we are learning the language in which God created life. With this profound new knowledge, humankind is on the verge of gaining immense, new power to heal."

President Bill Clinton
Monday, June 26, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton, along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, announced that the international Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics Corporation have both completed an initial sequencing of the human genome - the genetic blueprint for human beings. The President congratulated the scientists working on this landmark achievement, which promises to bring new ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure disease. The President pledged to continue and accelerate the United States' participation in this historic effort, and underscored that genetic information must never be used to stigmatize or discriminate against any individual or group.

A REVOLUTION IN PREVENTING, DIAGNOSING, TREATING, AND CURING DISEASE. Genetics causes an estimated 5,000 hereditary diseases and influences the development of thousands of other diseases. Before the advent of the Human Genome Project - a joint effort of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, and partners in the U.K., France, Germany, Japan, and China - connecting a gene with a disease was a slow, arduous, and often imprecise process. Today, largely because of the efforts of the Human Genome Project, genes are discovered and described within days. Scientists will be able to use the working draft of the human genome to:

USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF GENETIC MEDICINE. The sequence represents only the first step in the full decoding of the genome, because most of the individual genes and their specific functions must still be deciphered and understood. This research has begun, and already, tens of thousands of genes have been identified. The Human Genome Project, which completed its version of the working draft two years ahead of schedule and under budget, will continue its longstanding practice of making all of its sequencing data available to researchers worldwide at no cost. Celera Genomics, which makes its sequencing data available by subscription, has said that it will also make its version of the consensus human genome sequence available to non-subscribers upon publication.

PLEDGING STRONG SUPPORT FOR GENETIC RESEARCH. At today's announcement, President Clinton:

BUILDING ON A STRONG COMMITMENT TO PROTECTING PRIVATE GENETIC INFORMATION. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked to ensure that scientific advances do not compromise patient privacy protections. President Clinton has:

The White House Briefing Room
The White House at Work Archives