JUNE 20, 2017
“A lot of people in the 1980s and 1990s [when the Human Genome Project was getting started] thought of these regions as nonfunctional,” said Karen Miga, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “But that’s no longer the case.” Some of them, called satellite regions, misbehave in some forms of cancer, she said, “so something is going on in these regions that’s important.
Miga regards them as the explorer Livingstone did Africa — terra incognita whose inaccessibility seems like a personal affront. Sequencing the unsequenced, she said, “is the last frontier for human genetics and genomics.”