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The Human Genome Project

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Introduction

The Human Genome Project The human genome project first began in 1990 in the UK and US. The main aim of this project is to gain an understanding of the whole human gene structure to be able to link certain genes at exact locations with specific human traits and inherited diseases. The information they need is the genetic information from the DNA within every cell nucleus of the human body. They intend to locate the exact location of the genes on the chromosomes that are in the nucleus, this is known as mapping. They also intend to order the bases within the DNA, as these bases encode the genetic information, this is known as sequencing. Once completed the Human Genome Project will have created a catalogue describing approximately 30,000 human genes in great detail, along with maps of the chromosomes identifying the locations of the genes. In a chromosome, which is found within the nucleus of a cell, there is a continuous molecule of DNA. DNA takes the form of a double helix structure (two long strands twisted round each other with cross-links). DNA is built up of three components, a sugar, a phosphate and any one of the four bases (adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine). ...read more.

Middle

Researchers have developed tests for hundreds of the genetic disorders that threaten the live of many people. These can diagnose disorders in children and they can also predict the chances of suffering from the disease later in life. Genetic tests can also help couples who want to know the risk of passing down a genetic disorder. They can also do a prenatal test that is done before the baby is born to check for any disorders. However sometimes once people know about the disorder and there is little they can do as a cure or treatment is not available as of yet. There is also the issue of who do they tell once they know they have the disorder, many people must come into consideration, their partner, their employer, their health insurance company. If after the test the information is put on their medical record then both their employer and health insurance company will find out. As a result they may lose their job or be denied health insurance. To help with all this there are genetic counsellors, they help people understand the facts and choices they have after receiving the tests. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some people however may feel that the genetically clever should be given education, as they will use it better. This kind of thought can be easily made into discrimination against certain people. Privacy can be easily invaded once your DNA samples are on record. If a persons DNA was needed in a murder case to see if they were the murderer or not, and even if they weren't their DNA would stay on record in a police data bank. As a result the police can find out things about them without them even knowing. They may then learn things about themselves they didn't want to know. There is now a new law in England, where the police are able to take samples of DNA from suspect even without their permission. As a result England has created the worlds first nation-wide DNA data bank. Consequently someone's DNA may end up on another database where your employer or health insurance company may get hold of it. And there are currently no laws controlling DNA files. Overall there are many considerations to think about when looking at how the genome project will affect people. However I am sure once it is completed it will be a great asset to the world of medicine and science. Ava Alamdari 1 ...read more.

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