• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Human Genome Project

Extracts from this document...


Amira Nicola January, 2001 The Human Genome Project The Human Genome project is a scientific research effort to analyse the DNA of human beings and that of several other types of organism. The project began in the United States in 1990 under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. It was scheduled to be completed in 15 years. The project's goal is to identify the location of every human gene and to determine each gene's precise chemical structure in order to understand its function in health and disease. In the nucleus of every cell in the human body, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes, each of which is composed of several genes. Genes are discrete stretches of nucleotides that carry the information the cell uses to make proteins. The most important component of a chromosome is the single continuous molecule of DNA. This double-stranded molecule, which is shaped as a double helix, is composed of linked chemical compounds known as nucleotides. Each nucleotide consists of three parts: a sugar known as deoxyribose, a phosphate compound, and any one of four bases-adenine, thymine, guanine, or cytosine. These parts are linked together so that the sugar and the phosphate form the two parallel sides of the DNA ladder. ...read more.


Very detailed physical maps that indicate the precise order of cloned pieces of a chromosome are required to determine the actual sequence of nucleotides. The Human Genome Project most commonly uses the DNA sequencing method developed by the British biochemist and Nobel laureate Frederick Sanger. In Sanger's method, specific pieces of DNA are replicated and modified so that each ends in a fluorescent form of one of the four nucleotides. In modern automated DNA sequencers, the modified nucleotide at the end of such a chain is detected with a laser, and the exact number of nucleotides in the chain is determined. This information is then combined by computer to reconstruct the sequence of base pairs in the original DNA molecule. Duplicating DNA accurately and quickly is of critical importance to both mapping and sequencing. Scientists first replicated fragments of human DNA by cloning them in single-celled organisms that divide rapidly, such as bacteria or yeast. This technique can be time consuming and labour-intensive. In the late 1980s, however, a revolutionary method of reproducing DNA, known as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), came into widespread use. PCR is easily automated and can copy a single molecule of DNA many millions of times in a few hours. ...read more.


This kind of information is not very useful for individuals, who would like to know whether they actually have or will get a particular disease, and what steps, if any, they ought to take to protect their health. But probabilities are very useful for predicting how many people in a group will contract cancer or Alzheimer's disease, and so insurance companies and potential employers may well be very interested in measuring their risks using genetic tests. The genetic codes that will be used in tests to predict health risks often are, and will continue to be first identified by research on particular groups. And when we are able to change the future through the alteration of our very genes, the challenge is to think not only for ourselves, but also about how our decisions will affect those who come after us. Finally, the genome project was carried out mostly in publicly-funded research institutions. However, some of it was done in private laboratories. These labs have registered as patents the sequences they have discovered. One of the questions that future researchers have to face is that of royalties to be paid if any research is to be undertaken on any of the patented sequences. It seems that some understanding has been reached but the question of intellectual rights is another problem to be considered if there are not enough already. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Genetics, Evolution & Biodiversity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is a very well researches and detailed account of the human genome project. It includes very good descriptions of biochemical techniques

This piece of work is 5 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Brady Smith 13/08/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Genetics, Evolution & Biodiversity essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Understanding DNA Coursework

    4 star(s)

    This reaction takes place in the nucleus during cell division, more precisely, during the interphase stage, where the cell is fully-grown and begins to function. We can see from the diagram that the nitrogen containing bases are the only components of the nucleotide not to be involved in the reaction,

  2. Marked by a teacher


    4 star(s)

    Everyone is different, and because of this some people are more at risk of experiencing mental illness than others. There are some conditions that are more likely or less likely depending on your gender. For example, --> Eating disorders are more common in women than men. --> Personality disorders (PD)

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Nature vs. Nurture - And its affect on intelligence, personality, and behavior

    4 star(s)

    As new research comes out, it is being shown that genes can be altered, which means that although the presence of these desirable traits are found in genes, it is not always guaranteed that they will be passed on. Another way to look at the same point is that genes

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Evolution. This issue report will aim to address the Theory of Evolution by explaining ...

    4 star(s)

    morphological similarities to their assumed descendent, in actual fact, their DNA aren't even closely related thus meaning that using fossil records can be a flawed. What other methods can they use to help aid them in their quest for evolutionary knowledge?

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Research Project - Could stems cells provide a cure for diabetes?

    4 star(s)

    Figure 2 shows that the image captioned 'insulin -producing cells destroyed' has no insulin in the blood stream which shows how type 1 diabetes works. Type 2 diabetes is also known as "adult-onset diabetes". This is the most common type and can be developed at any age in a person.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    'Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of gene technology.'

    Some of the potential outcomes of gene technology, bad or good, are potentially very frightening and certainly could change the world forever. How ever the second question is answered, there is certain to be someone who does not agree and so this is another disadvantage of gene technology; it is

  1. The Biology of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the Social Implications

    In spite of this, there are those who have ASD and suffer minimal of symptoms. The symptoms of ASD can usually be divided into three main groups, which include social interaction, communication, routine and repetitive behaviour. Social Interaction Autistic children find social interaction harder than those who do not suffer ASD.

  2. Gm foods and Gene therapy

    19% of these GM crops were improved for insect pest resistance, 74% of herbicide tolerance and 7% for both pest tolerance and herbicide tolerance. Averages of GM crops have rose 25-fold in only 5 years globally from about 4.3 million acres in 1996 - 109 acres in 2000.This is just about double the location of the UK.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work