"The Guide is not simply a textbook, a database, a review article, or a reference book. By combining aspects of all of them, I hope it is useful to students, faculty, and researchers." — Stewart Scherer
Presenting the genes of the human genome in their biological context, Guide to the Human Genome is an extensive resource that provides easy access to information about human genes and their roles in specific processes. With numerous illustrations and tables, each of the nearly 300 sections of the Guide describes genes involved in a specific pathway, process, or structure�from the molecular and cellular levels to developmental and physiological processes.
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Please note that errata are reported in the blog.
The availability of the human genome sequence has had an enormous impact on research but has not yet led to corresponding changes in how biology is presented to students. The origin of the Guide to the Human Genome is the idea that teaching biology requires easy access to genomic information and the accompanying information resources. To make this possible, I concluded that what was needed was a work organized like the textbooks used to teach biochemistry, cell biology, and related subjects, but one that provided direct connections to the extensive databases at NCBI. Simplifying access to sequences, search results, and other information would make possible much more realistic exercises for students in topics ranging from human genetics to sequence analysis.
A principal goal of the Guide is to provide a comprehensive framework to present all human genes. This initial version already provides quite extensive coverage of the reference human protein set. With the increasing application of genome-wide screens using various functional genomics approaches, researchers often encounter unfamiliar genes and pathways. This work can provide a consistent starting point for basic information about genes encountered in these types of experiments.
In textbooks, much of the information is presented via model organisms where various processes have been most intensively studied. I have long felt that the extent of human genetic and biochemical data is not fully appreciated and that many of these topics can just as easily be presented using the human genes in those same processes. This approach should appeal to students planning careers in medicine and make the work of value in the basic science courses in medical schools.
Generally, in a review, the goal is to try to say everything about something; here the goal is to try to say something about everything. To keep this initial effort manageable in size, even for the information that is included, it is not practical to present it in all of the places of the Guide where it might be relevant.
Regular updates are planned for the Guide. Initially, the updates will be focused on individual sections where new information has become available and on handling errata. More comprehensive updates are planned, based primarily on when sufficient changes to the reference protein set have occurred. With the great diversity of topics in this work, feedback is essential for extending and improving it for the future. The homepage www.humangenomeguide.org has information about updates and contact information.