24 September 2014
The Human Genome
The Human Genome was a worldwide search with goals of finding out the answers to some important questions, for example: How do we study the DNA of individuals to help them discover their ethnic ancestry? How do we map out the sequences of DNA? What does it mean? For people with diseases involving genetic mechanisms, what can we learn? Is it possible for scientist to fix genetic mutations or prevent such diseases from being passed down another generation? These are all questions every single one of us would like to be answers, today.
With the information we have discovered so far, it has been quoted to look like this, “There is so much DNA. It’s like the difference between having a dictionary with most of the entries not there, and a complete set: you can’t find things by using a search function. Also, it’s much easier to start from a known starting point than to dig around blindly for some information that may or may not be useful. It saves a whole bunch of time and money (NIOH).” Included is an article written by Jacob Silverman on what we have learned so far about the human genome.
Space may be the final frontier, but human biology is the original unknown, challenging us to discover who we are and where we came from. DNA, the building block of life, contains the genetic code that informs so much of who we are. This code is written with four letters, each representing a different base. The four bases are adenine (A), which pairs with thymine (T), and cytosine (C), which pairs with guanine (G).
Scientists have long known that these four letters provide the recipes for proteins, which carry out numerous bodily functions. But there are still questions to be answered, including how the 3.2 billion base pairs contained in the human genome are ordered. (The human genome is a person's entire bundle of DNA divided unevenly among 23 pairs of chromosomes.) To that end, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was launched in 1990. Some of the project's ambitious goals included:
Sequencing the entire human genome
Identifying human genes
Charting variations across human genomes
Sequencing genomes of the mouse and four other "model organisms"
Scientists have understood that DNA is the molecule that is responsible for inheritance since the 30’s and 40’s (NIOH). The structural representation and organization of DNA was solved in the 1950’s (NIOH). It is said that its intellectual roots stretch back further to Alfred Sturtevant when he created the first Drosophila gene map in 1911(NIOH). A researcher who has played a major role in the advance with the human genome project is James Watson. In 1953, He discovered a very important part of the genome analysis, and that is the discovery of the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. A few short years later he received a Nobel Prize for Psychology and Medicine (NIOH). Then, he was appointed lead researcher for the National Center for Human Genome Research. In 1990, the center released its publication of the first five years of the project. During this time it was said to take 15 years to complete. But, it wasn’t until recently that the research really took off. In 2001 on February 15, The Human Genome Project published its results to