BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The estimated number of human genes has been revised sharply downward in a report from an international research team.
The report, from a consortium of laboratories that decoded the human genome and published in Thursday's journal Nature, reduced identified genes from 35,000, to 20,000 to 25,000, described as a surprisingly low number for our species.
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, led in the United States by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Department of Energy, describes the final product of the Human Genome Project, a 13-year effort to read the information encoded in the human chromosomes that reached its culmination in 2003.
"Only a decade ago, most scientists thought humans had about 100,000 genes," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins. "The availability of the highly accurate human genome sequence in free public databases enables researchers around the world to conduct even more precise studies of our genetic instruction book and how it influences health and disease."