Peter Little on Challenges of the HGP
  Peter Little     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

I think it was when—there were several sad times. I think the whole row with Celera was very sad time, because it poisoned something that was actually rather wonderful. And it still hasn’t been properly resolved, and I think it’s left a dirty taste in the mouth of many people. I think the other thing that was sad was watching as the small research groups were gradually put out of business by all the big research groups, which was absolutely necessary. I mean you can’t sequence little bits of the genome and pretend that it’s going to work.

But there was a tremendous amount of communal effort that went into some of the stuff that underpinned the genome project. And then the genome project just ran over that. That was tough. That was very hard. A lot of us were sidelined, and it was right. And later on it’s fine, but at the time I think that it was pretty unpleasant. So I was never completely sidelined, and if I had been I think that’s what I would complain about most. But I didn’t sequence the stuff myself. I didn’t work in one the big sequencing centers. I’m perfectly happy that I didn’t. But it would have been very interesting just to be part of that process. And so I simply watched it from the outside and that was fine. But if I had really been damaged by it, I think that would be hard.

Peter Little is a bioinformatics researcher, professor of medical biochemistry and the head of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He received his Ph.D. working with recombinant DNA under Ed Southern and Peter Walker at Edinburgh University. In 1976, Little cloned a human gene – the second time this was ever accomplished.

Little’s laboratory studies the genetic basis of gene expression, and genetic variation as it pertains to the regulatory regions of the genes. He has hypothesized that there are two types of genetic variation that alter gene expression. His lab has also created advanced techniques for testing genetically influenced transcript variations.

He comes to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory regularly for genome meetings and symposia.