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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Impact of Structural Genomics: Expectations and Outcomes

  • Author(s): Chandonia, John-Marc
  • Brenner, Steven E.
  • et al.

Structural Genomics (SG) projects aim to expand our structural knowledge of biological macromolecules, while lowering the average costs of structure determination. We quantitatively analyzed the novelty, cost, and impact of structures solved by SG centers, and contrast these results with traditional structural biology. The first structure from a protein family is particularly important to reveal the fold and ancient relationships to other proteins. In the last year, approximately half of such structures were solved at a SG center rather than in a traditional laboratory. Furthermore, the cost of solving a structure at the most efficient U.S. center has now dropped to one-quarter the estimated cost of solving a structure by traditional methods. However, top structural biology laboratories are much more efficientthan the average, and comparable to SG centers despite working on very challenging structures. Moreover, traditional structural biology papers are cited significantly more often, suggesting greater current impact.

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