ENCODE, the Encyclopaedia of DNA Elements, is the most ambitious human genetics project to date. It takes the 3 billion letters described by the Human Genome Project in 2000, and tries to explain them. Remarkably, ENCODE scientists have managed to assign a biochemical function to 80% of the genome, including the genes and the parts of the genome that tell those genes what to do. This information is helping us understand how genomes are interpreted to make different types of cells and different people - and crucially, how mistakes can lead to disease. In this video, ENCODE's lead coordinator, Ewan Birney, and Nature editor Magdalena Skipper talk about the challenges of managing this colossal project and what we've learnt about our genomes.
At the heart of the ENCODE explorer lie the threads. These are a new way in which to explore the wealth of information collectively described by the 30 papers published across three different journals. They complement the papers by highlighting topics that are otherwise covered only in subsections of individual papers. Each thread consists of relevant paragraphs, figures and tables from across the papers, united around a specific theme.
ENCODE: The story of you
Ever since a monk called Mendel started breeding pea plants we’ve been learning about our genomes. The latest chapter in our story is ENCODE; an ambitious project which aims to characterise all the functional element in the human genome. This animation shows how ENCODE is the next major step along this path.