The Human Genome Project (HGP) was one of the great scientific achievements of history. An inward voyage of discovery rather than an outward exploration of the planet or the cosmos; an international research effort to sequence and map all of the genes - together known as the genome - of members of our species, Homo sapiens. The project was proposed and greatly funded by the US government; planning started in 1984, got underway in 1990, and was completed in 2003. It was the first attempt of »Big Science« in the field of Biotechnology - and it was succesfull.

The HGP gave us the ability, for the first time, to read nature‘s complete genetic blueprint for human beings. Most of the sequencing was performed in twenty universities and research centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and China. $4 million were granted to initiate the project, it was followed by a line item budget of $16 million. Over the the whole project lifetime about $3 billion were spent ($200 mio yearly). Due to widespread international cooperation and advances the genome was essentially complete in April 2003,  two years earlier than planned.