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The Human Genome Project and its Ethical, Legal and Social Implications

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  • Essay length: 2110 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Developmental & Reproductive Biology

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The Human Genome Project and its Ethical, Legal and Social Implications

"...research on the human genome and the resulting applications open up vast prospects for progress in improving the health of individuals and of humankind as a whole...such research should fully respect human dignity, freedom and human rights, as well as the prohibition of all forms of discrimination based on genetic characteristics," (UNESCO Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, July 1997)

The Human Genome Project (HGP) is a co-ordinated, international research programme, which aims to identify and locate all human genes by determining the entire sequence of the human genome by the year 2005. Although there are indisputable benefits of this research, it is fraught with difficult ethical, legal and social issues. The possible implications are therefore an essential part of our understanding of the project.

The Human Genome Project´s main objective is to determine the complete 'reference´ human genome that will be the basis for further studies. This is being achieved using both physical and genetic mapping. According to the Genome Data Base (GDB), over 7000 of an estimated 80 000 human genes have already been mapped to particular chromosomes. The goal of

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