• 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...

Introduction

The Human Genome Project "The Human Genome Project (HGP) was the largest biological investigation ever undertaken"1 which began in 1990 and spanned 13 years. It achieved its goal in 2003 by identifying the sequence of over 3 billion base pairs which constitute the human genome (the complete genetic material of an organism). The project was heralded by the research conducted in 1953 by the scientists Watson and Crick who discovered that DNA existed as a double helical structure (enabling DNA replication), from images of Rosalind Franklin's DNA X-ray diffraction. Despite the potential positive applications of the project's results such as in molecular medicine, it has been scrutinized for being unethical by interfering with nature and for having too many negative social, legal and economic implications. In 1990 the HGP was said to have ambitious aims, but by 2003 not only had they been achieved but surpassed. The most significant aim was to be able to identify variations in the human genome that caused diseases, and to find the phenotypes (physical expressions) ...read more.

Middle

Genome based research will lead to doctors having better diagnostic tools, highly effective medicines and the ability to "understand the health needs of people based on their individual genetic make-ups"4. Doctors will be able to produce individualised analysis on a person's genome meaning effective preventative medicines can be produced. Also, a person's future health problems can be predicted from their genome, meaning necessary precautions can be taken before it is too late such as diet or lifestyle changes. This ability to analyze an individual patient's genome will not only arise from the results of the HGP but also from the techniques it developed. Secondly, the project has given scientists a better molecular understanding of diseases like diabetes, kidney failure and heart disease. Therefore, with this knowledge medical companies can produce effective treatments in a relatively short period of time without the need of such intensive and expensive testing. The beginning of the HGP sparked an intense bioethical debate concerning its social, moral and cultural impacts, and is seen by many as being a threat to the sanctity of human life. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, ethicists think this would spoil the unconditional love a mother is supposed to have for a baby when she chooses to refuse and kill it when there is something she doesn't like about it. This would also undermine the rights of the unborn baby who could cope with the disease and live a life of happiness. Moreover, "in some countries in which the culture values boys more than girls, ultrasound and amniocentesis [an examination of cells surrounding the foetus] are used mainly to check the sex of the foetus"6. This could create abnormal male to female ratios in certain countries leading to a future population crisis. To conclude, it is clear that the HGP required intensive human effort to reach its completion and the techniques required will be able to have future applications in medicine and genetics. While some people would argue that the project carries no moral responsibilities, I believe its potential effects in vaccine making and disease prevention outweigh the possible exploitation of its results. Also with government intervention in the form of laws and sanctions the uses of the HGP could be regulated to ensure that people don't use it for immoral effects. ...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

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

    The Human Genome Project

    5 star(s)

    Of course, that would be of enormous benefit to someone with a family history of cystic fibrosis or breast cancer. This is because some genetic defects lead to certain syndromes. These syndromes, eg cystic fibrosis, make the carrier predisposed to certain diseases.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    An Investigation into the Mitotic Nuclear Division of Allium Sativum Root Tip Cells, and ...

    5 star(s)

    the Interphase section of the cycle by messages received from extracellular bodies. The process of chromosomal replication upon which mitosis occurs happens during the S phase. 5 6 The Relative Length of Each Stage of Mitotic Nuclear Division "Although the stages of mitosis are necessarily shown as static events, it

  1. Marked by a teacher

    MENTAL HEALTH

    4 star(s)

    were at greater risk than female children which is shown in graph 3 below. Graph 3 is showing the trends in discharges per 10,000 children and adolescents with a principal diagnosis of bipolar disorder by gender and race. Risk factors for Bipolar disorder Depression, cyclothymiacs and hyperthermia These three types could also be pioneer to develop into bipolar disorder.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    4 star(s)

    The treatment that is carried out repairs damaged cells in the body and rebuilds them as well as body tissue. One benefit of stem cell treatment that is often overlooked is that is considerably safe and has hardly any toxicity.

  1. The Human Genome Project: The Debate

    This has been done successfully in a few people with rare inherited diseases that affect their immune systems. Also, using the information of the genetic make up, eventually we may be able to produce drugs that can specifically destroy a certain mutated cell, for example cancers.

  2. Parkinsons Disease

    As the information provided is backed by what I consider to be reliable resources I think that the information on the website is also therefore reliable, but should be checked with other sources before being used. 2. Name of article: Possible Causes of Parkinson's Disease (PD)

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

    a place that is familiar to the child, such as school or whilst at home playing with their toys. Observations on how a child reacts to new places or people will also be noted. Are There Any Treatments Or Cures?

  2. Recombinant DNA, genetically engineered DNA prepared in vitro by cutting up DNA molecules and ...

    from both mother and father. The egg divides into two identical cells, then four, then eight, and so on. These cells are clones and so is the DNA within them, because it, too, is copied into every cell that is produced.

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