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What is the Human Genome Project?

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  • Essay length: 4031 words
  • Submitted: 22/01/2004
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AS and A Level Genetics, Evolution & Biodiversity

The first 200 words of this essay...

What is the Human Genome Project?

Begun formally in 1990, the U.S. Human Genome Project is a 13-year effort coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The project originally was planned to last 15 years, but rapid technological advances have accelerated the expected completion date to 2003. Project goals are to

* identify all the approximate 30,000 genes in human DNA,

* determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA,

* store this information in databases,

* improve tools for data analysis,

* transfer related technologies to the private sector, and

* address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.

To help achieve these goals, researchers also are studying the genetic makeup of several nonhuman organisms. These include the common human gut bacterium Escherichia coli, the fruit fly, and the laboratory mouse.

A unique aspect of the U.S. Human Genome Project is that it is the first large scientific undertaking to address the ELSI implications that may arise from the project.

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