Several heavy hitters in the proteomics field have banded together to support the creation of a Human Proteome Project (HPP), billed as the proteomics equivalent of the Human Genome Project. The goal of HPP is to characterize the proteins made from all of the genes in the human genome. HPP is apparently motivated in part by the realization that proteomics hasn’t yet contributed much (if anything) to biology or medicine.
As we reported in the Journal of Proteome Research in June, HPP has been touted as a project of the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) since its inception. The HPP idea got its start last year at a HUPO meeting in Barbados, and several high-profile HUPO board members are promoting it. So I was taken aback when, at one of the workshops held two days before the official start of the seventh annual HUPO meeting in Amsterdam this August, the president of the organization said HUPO will not and should not lead the project. Several attendees said funding agencies should lead the way instead, just as Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Institute was a leader of the Human Genome Project. But not everyone agreed—some said HUPO should take the reins.
What do you think—should someone from the National Institutes of Health step forward again? Who should lead HPP if neither HUPO nor NIH (or any other funding organization) agrees to helm the project? Is this even a worthwhile project to pursue?
For a full meeting news report on the HPP workshops that took place at the August HUPO meeting, visit this month’s Journal of Proteome Research online news section.