Solving the human glycome is an effort comparable to bringing humans to Mars

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Oct 19, 2018

Today, professor Gordan Lauc presented the Human Glycome Project to the Croatian national media and television. The official launch of the project happened in Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 6th during the GlycoCom conference with international participation. In his speech today, professor Lauc, one of the co-directors of the HGP, compared the efforts required to identify and functionally characterize human glycome with the task of bringing the humans to Mars.

            While it’s a safe bet to assume a random individual heard about DNA and genome, only rare few would exhibit the same level of basic knowledge about glycans, even though a thick layer of glycans covers every cell in human body. One of the underlying reasons for this discrepancy might be the increased complexity of glycome which also made it harder to analyze and understand. Unlike 1:1 ratio between the human genome and proteins which was decoded by the collective effort of scientists around the globe through human genome project, glycans are not directly transcribed from the genetic alphabet.

            Structure of glycans depends on the complex inter-regulation of hundreds of genes and environment. For this reason, the unravelling of human glycome will most likely require more time, effort and investment. It is a task impossible to accomplish without a shared vision between research labs, industry, funding sources, and media. Human Glycome Project is the first world-wide initiative to unite the researchers working in the field of glycomics in a joint effort to solve the human glycome for a greater good. The worldwide releases will follow.