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The Human Genome Project

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Introduction

The Human Genome Project "Today we are learning the language in which God created life . . . humankind is on the verge of gaining immense new power to heal. Genome science will have a real impact on all our lives, and even more on the lives of our children. It will revolutionise the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases." - Bill Clinton, June 2002. The Human Genome Project came into existence in the late 1980's as scientist from around the world aimed to map where every human gene is found on our chromosomes. The Project was a great success as scientists were successful, but now in order to extend the project, scientists are trying to work out what each gene codes for. This information would be vital as it could help ascertain how a particular gene might be damaged or how mutations on some genes can lead to illness or disorders. ...read more.

Middle

New fluorescent dyes allow separation of all four fragments in a single lane on the gel. Then the final base at the end of each fragment is identified (base-calling). This process recreates the original sequence of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs for each short piece generated in the first step. 4 The HGP will aid medical future developments greatly. Molecular Medicine will benefit from improved diagnosis of disease, earlier detection of genetic disease, Gene therapy and control systems for drugs and Pharmacogenomics or "custom drugs". Technology and resources promoted by the Human Genome Project are starting to have great impacts on biomedical research. Increasingly, the detailed genome maps are being used by researchers seeking genes associated with genetic conditions, including myotonic dystrophy, fragile X syndrome, neurofibromatosis types 1 and 2, inherited colon cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and familial breast cancer. Genome information can indicate the future likelihood of some diseases. For example, if the gene responsible for Huntington's disease is present, it is a near certainty that symptoms eventually will occur, although doctors cannot accurately when during a patient's lifetime the symptoms will begin to start showing. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is feared that genome data could be computerised and used in all aspects of life, from recruiting employees to creating sub-human races.7 It is even anticipated that in the future fantasies such as "Robocop" and other specially built, or with genome data, "genetically" designed police officers and soldiers will become reality. Proteomics is another branch of genomics and it is the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions. To catalogue all human proteins and determine their functions and interactions presents a huge challenge for scientists. An international collaboration to achieve these goals is being led by the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO). The Genome data gathered from the HGP will aid society greatly in many ways including the development of cures for illnesses and the earlier detection of diseases. However, the data if misused could cause great divisons among societies and create prejudice and discrimination. 1 AS Level Biology, The Revision Guide, CGP, 2003 2 Human Genome Project, Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopaedia 3 The Wellcome Trust, http://www.wellcome.ac.uk 4 http://www.doegenomes.org 5 http://www.yourgenome.org 6 From Blueprint To You, NHGRI, April 2003 7 The Human Genome Project and Eugenics, Robert Lederman, 2000 ****************************** ...read more.

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