The benefit of mankind


Human genome project is an international research program, the largest of its kind, mainly focusing on understanding and mapping of all the genes of Homo sapiens. The project was originally meant to last 15 years but was completed in 13 years, it officially started in 1990 and ended in April 2003, it marked the . The Department of Energy and James D. Watson from the National Institutes of Health was the heads of the project and later in 1993 Francis Collins. It acquired help from other countries such as Japan and England and others from Europe. 'The only institution in England has contributed more than one-third of the sequence, this was the biggest contribution by any single institution' This was a great moment for England, who at first signed on to only contribute 0ne-sixth of the sequence.

In the year 2000, Bill Clinton the then president of the USA and Tony Blair the then Prime Minister of England announced the rough draft of the human genome, which was published in February 2001.

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A genome is the full set of genetics instructions inside the DNA of a human.

A cells nucleus holds 23 pairs of chromosomes, 1 pair of those chromosomes will determine your sex, the other 22 chromosomes can be found in both sexes. Every chromosome contains a super coiled strand of DNA, The DNA's double helix contains 4 building blocks or they are known as nucleotide bases the abbreviations for these are A for adenine, T thymine, G guanine, C cytosine,

They specifically pair up, A always pairs with T and G always pairs with C. The DNA contains thousands of genes the information that code for protein, every human has approximately 3 000 000 000 of these base pairs

The researchers of the HGP (human genome project) set out goals to determine the sequence of the 3 000 000 000 base pairs and identify all the 75 000 genes in the human DNA.

However, the researchers found that a human only has about approximately 20 000-25 000 genes about the same as mice. Reading these bases would not make sense to many people, so annotations would be very useful so that future scientist know what gene they are looking at or for and their uses as almost 50% of found genes are still not annotated and their functions are not know.

DNA contains the genetic instruction that is copied by the mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) this is taken outside to the cytoplasm.

The bases on one side of the DNA double helix strand specify the bases of the newly copied bases on the mRNA. The mRNA is read by ribosome the site of protein synthesis to make a particular protein. Every 3 bases on the mRNA code for an amino acid, proteins are made from a chain of amino acids, tRNA (transfer ribonucleic acid) molecule helps the ribosomes translate it into the language of proteins. Protein substances make up tendons, muscles, glands and hair, this is vital in the human genome project because genes encode proteins and if we can map these genes, scientist can see which of your parents you inherited those genes from. Scientist can also understand how proteins perform their tasks.

The human genome project has affected many aspect of our society such as genetic disorders. One example could be obesity, many argue that the environment causes obesity but scientists have discovered and identify that it could be linked to a 'fat' gene. This could help those with that gene, a nutritionist by informing them that they should lower their intake of carbohydrates and calories or for scientist to discover a way to even 'switch it off', doing this it could maybe one day eradicate obesity. It also helps future investigations e.g. a scientist researching some sort of illness such as dementia, cancer, diabetes with the help of the human genome project it would narrow it down to specific genes as well as doctors trying to establish whether a patient could carry the gene for a variety of illnesses. The completion of sequencing the chromosome 20 has being important in finding genes that are linked to diabetes type 2 or leukaemia ect., by giving the patient/s genetic test that can look for those genes where they should be according to the human genome map. Scientist can also now find a relationship between humans and other species by comparing the mapping of the human genome.

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Understanding the human genome, will help us understand the common genes we share with animals that are used for medicine testing e.g. chimpanzees with which we are 98% alike and how their genes are affected. Also comparing the genomes could show the similarities and differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

Genetics scientist can now estimate how long ago 2 people shared an ancestor. This can be done also with many other species and us whether human shared a common ancestor e.g. humans and a cauliflower have 50% of the same genome structure this could be hard to phantom but we are quite similar and might have a common ancestor. However much there is a focus on genes, it only makes up around 4% of the human genome, the rest are non-coding regions.

Non-coding region do not encode for protein, however they are there for regulating the proteins.

Many criticise the human genome project they believe that the high cost is not worth the trouble and cannot be justified, however some argue that the pros outweigh the con especially for medical breakthroughs. E.g., the blueprint of the human genome could personalise treatments for any given person. "We hope all this knowledge of the genome will lead to more kinds of therapies,'' Frank Collins e.g. proton therapy where a beam of protons destroy the damaged cells rather than with radiotherapy where a beam might also destroy healthy cells in the progress, with the gene therapy the doctors can pin point the diseased cells.

The HGP has raised the credibility of science, by de-coding all of the 3 billion bases. This can be seen by scientist such as Dr. Quake whom is trying to reduce the time and cost of decoding a humans genome.

The other argument is that the human genome project can cause anxiety and unnecessary fear due to being able to diagnose genetic illnesses before being able to treat them. Although this may be true, but in order to find a cure, the cause of the illness most be understood especially those that are hereditary.

Understanding a bacterium that causes illnesses could lead to why what mutates and leads to drug resistance. Therefore, that pharmaceutical company's can change their medicine in order to fight superbugs such as MRSA.

The sequence has been published on the World Wide Web.

Anyone who has internet could access the GenBank, which stores the sequence of the human DNA Making the human genome blueprint easily available could lead to many problems, such as having to submit your own genome for a job vacancy. If your boss does not like what they find e.g. a gene that makes you stressed or immune system being weak due to certain genes not working, this may lead to the chance of being employed lessened. Nevertheless, having the information available could be useful to many people such as lawyers in the help of fighting discrimination cases as well as inform many employers if some of their employees need support.

The human genome project has been able to back Darwin's theory "On the Origin of Species" that humans evolved from apes and through the process of natural selection we have gradually changed to adapt to our environment, our genetic structure is extremely close about 98% the same. Evolution has occurred to almost every species, those who did not evolve or could not adapt to their habitat became extinct. With the information on the human genome stored, and there is a gene that has mutated scientist can compare it to a non-faulty one.

the Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project with a primary goal to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA and to identify and map the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional standpoint.] The first available assembly of the genome was completed in 2000 by the UCSC Genome