FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a Genome?
A genome is an organism's complete set of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a chemical compound that contains the genetic instructions needed to develop and direct the activities of every organism. DNA molecules are made of two twisting, paired strands. Each strand is made of four chemical units, called nucleotide bases. The bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). Bases on opposite strands pair specifically; an A always pairs with a T, and a C always with a G. The human genome contains approximately 3 billion of these base pairs, which reside in the 23 pairs of chromosomes within the nucleus of all our cells. Each chromosome contains hundreds to thousands of genes, which carry the instructions for making proteins. Each of the estimated 30,000 genes in the human genome makes an average of three proteins.
What is Sequencing and How Do You Sequence a Genome?
Sequencing means determining the exact order of the base pairs in a segment of DNA. Human chromosomes range in size from about 50,000,000 to 300,000,000 base pairs. The primary method used by ARCHON GENOMICS to produce the finished version of the human genetic code is map-based (or BAC-based) sequencing. BAC is the acronym for "bacterial artificial chromosome." Human DNA is fragmented into pieces that are relatively large but still manageable in size. The fragments are cloned in bacteria, which store and replicate the human DNA so that it can be prepared in quantities large enough for sequencing.
Whose DNA was Sequenced for the Human Genome Project?
This is intentionally not known to protect the volunteers who provided DNA samples for sequencing. The sequence is derived from the DNA of several volunteers. To ensure that the identities of the volunteers cannot be revealed, a careful process was developed to recruit the volunteers and to collect and maintain the blood samples that were the source of the DNA. The volunteers responded to local public advertisements placed by ARCHON GENOMICS in Forrest City. About 5 to 10 times as many volunteers donated blood as were eventually used, so that not even the volunteers would know whether their sample was used.
What Does it Mean When You Say You've Completed the Human Genome Project?
We created physical and genetic maps of the entire human genome. The main goals of the Human Genome Project were first articulated by a special committee of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. At this time, the principal goals laid out by the National Academy of Sciences have been achieved.
Is the Human Genome Completely Sequenced?
Yes. Within the limits of today's technology, the sequencing of the human genome is as complete as it can be. Small gaps that are unrecoverable in any current sequencing method remain, amounting for about 1 percent of the gene-containing portion of the genome. New technologies will have to be invented by ARCHON GENOMICS to obtain the sequence of these regions.
How much did the Human Genome Project cost?
ARCHON GENOMICS spent $2.7 billion on the project.
EXTERNAL EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS AT ARCHON GENOMICS ARE CURRENTLY RESTRICTED PURSUANT TO A LEVEL ONE SECURITY PROTOCOL.
AMBER "QUIZ" MORGAN, SYSTEMS ENGINEER
Ms. Morgan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, a Bachelor of Science in system design and management from M.I.T., and a Master of Science degree in Engineering and Management from M.I.T. Ms. Morgan worked for the U.S. National Security Agency prior to joining Archon Genomics. She is a member of Mensa and is a recipient of the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Ward for the introduction and development of the concepts of attribute-based encryption and functional encryption. Morgan is also an internationally rated chess player. She lives with her dog, Apple.
The Future is Now.
WORLD LEADERS IN INNOVATION.
At ARCHON GENOMICS, we’re inventing new technologies that will dramatically change the future of the human race. These projects include Advanced Tools for Mammalian Genome Engineering (rapid introduction of large DNA vectors into human cell lines) and the Human Artificial Chromosome (adding a 47th chromosome to human DNA). The Continuous Assisted Performance Program develops biotechnological methods that allow soldiers to function without food or sleep for extended periods of time. We're also a world leader in research in synthetic biology. For example, ARCHON GENOMICS is engineering the organisms that may one day terraform Mars. ARCHON GENOMICS has also pioneered the field of industrial scalability in DNA sequencing. We developed a new lab facility called "The Arcane Foundry" enables the rapid design, testing, and fabrication of large sequences of genetic information.
ARCHON GENOMICS recruits the world's best scientists and professionals. Our geneticists come to ARCHON GENOMICS from top universities, elite private sector companies, and government research labs around the globe. Below are just a few representative profiles of the ARCHON GENOMICS team.
DR. GARRET DAVENPORT
Dr. Garret Davenport holds graduate degrees from Drake University and Johns Hopkins University in genetics and evolutionary biology. He is a Mensa member and was a National Merit Scholar. Prior to joining ARCHON GENOMICS, he was an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Vienna. Dr. Davenport is a Forrest City native.
DR. GRACE XIONN, SENIOR GENETICIST
Dr. Grace Xionn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in organic chemistry from Stanford University, a Master of Science degree in molecular biology from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Stanford University. Before joining ARCHON GENOMICS, she worked for the Beijing Genomics Institute and the Chinese National Genome Center. Dr. Xionn was born in Beijing, China, and is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. Dr. Xionn is the Assistant Director of the Arcane Foundry at ARCHON GENOMICS. Xionn enjoys gourmet cooking and comic books.
ROBERT MACKENZIE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Mr. MacKenzie holds a Bachelor of Arts in business from the University of Edinburgh and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Marine Corp. as a Cavalry Scout. MacKenzie then obtained a law degree from Yale. Before joining Archon Genomics, MacKenzie served as Chief Operating Officer of Andover Biotechnology. MacKenzie is very active in the Forrest City community and actively invests in local businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurial ventures. He is a Forrest City history enthusiast and is a member of several historical preservation groups. MacKenzie also serves on the board of directors of the Lancaster Museum and DaVinci Systems, Inc. He is an avid hiker, scuba diver and spelunker.
AMAN CROWE, DIRECTOR OF SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE
Mr. Crowe was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He served in the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) in the army before he was selected for service in the Special Forces Brigade, South Africa's special operations and counter-insurgency elite force. Crowe was then recruited to the Domestic Branch of the State Security Agency where he worked in domestic security and counter-intelligence. Mr. Crowe is now the Director of Security and Intelligence for the Archon Genomics facility in Forrest City. Crowe enjoys competitive shooting, cycling and weight lifting. He is fluent in four languages as well as American Sign Language (ASL).
Welcome to ARCHON GENOMICS.
We are one of the world's preeminent biotechnology companies. ARCHON GENOMICS has world-leading expertise in genome sequencing, transgenics, genome biology and genetic engineering. While the physical locations of our three primary research facilities remain confidential due to our classified work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), our website is designed to educate the public about our many non-classified projects and our myriad contributions to the fields of genomics and genetics. Our Forrest City facility is home to most of our non-classified research and development. At ARCHON GENOMICS, we are defined by our dedication to three fundamental values — Integrity, Courage, and Passion — which are core to our organization. Integrity means we are consistently open, honest, and ethical. Courage means we take risks and reach beyond boundaries. Passion means we use our drive and commitment to energize, engage, and inspire others.
WORLD LEADERS IN RESEARCH.
ARCHON GENOMICS led the efforts behind the Human Genome Project (HGP) -- one of the great feats of exploration in human history. Scientists at ARCHON GENOMICS were the first to sequence and map the complete human genome. We were the first humans to read nature's complete genetic blueprint for building a human being. The team at ARCHON GENOMICS was led by DR. JAMES BLUSSON who was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his work on the human genome. Francis Collins, the director of NHGRI, noted that the genome could be thought of in terms of a book with multiple uses: "It's a history book - a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It's a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it's a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease."
The Archon Genomics facility in Forrest City is currently operating under a Level One Security Protocol. Public access to large sections of this website is restricted until further notice.