Breakthroughs in our understanding of the human body have been made possible by a data set released today. Just as the Genome Project shook the world, the Human Proteome Map has set out the first comprehensive human protein dataset. Starting with samples of 30 tissues, the researchers in one laboratory extracted their proteins, used enzymes to break them down into peptides which they then analysed using mass spectrometry – and in the process, discovered 193 proteins never known to exist previously. However, this project had an interesting development history, as it has been worked on by two independent research groups: one in India and one in America. The second group also used mass spectrometry, but did so by building a library based on databases and colleagues’ contributions, then filling in with their own data where they found gaps. It’s a fascinating project from the perspective of Computer Scientists and Statisticians but it’s obviously essential reading for all Biologists, Medics, Biomedical Scientists and Biochemists.
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