Identifying Cancer Mutations - Determining the underlying cause of disease is a daunting task. In a 1994 Time magazine interview, Francis Collins, now director of the National Institutes of Health, said that locating a gene from scratch was like "trying to find a burned-out light bulb in a house located somewhere between the East and West coasts without knowing the state, much less the town or street the house is on." With its 3 billion base pairs distributed over 23 paired chromosomes, the human genome is an epic map to navigate. Nevertheless, an international effort to map the human genome at the individual DNA base pair level—the Human Genome Project—was initiated in 1990. The effort cost more than $2.7 billion, involved 20 research institutes and culminated in 2003 with the publication of the completed DNA sequence of the human genome.