THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: DNA Declassified

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The Human Genome Project is an international research effort to characterize the genomes of human and selected model organisms through complete mapping and sequencing  of their deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. A relatively new field of research, bioinformatics  began in the 1960s with the efforts of Margaret O. Dayhoff and other noted researchers. A google report classifies it as a nebulous term that encompasses molecular evolution, biological modeling, biophysics, and systems biology. has been developed in part to address the computing challenges raised by this project.

The Human Genome Project was basically a race between three organizations to map and sequence DNA ( deoxyribonucleic acid). The three groups were a private lab called Celera Genomics, a public company in London and the U.S. HGP (Human Genome Project), funded by the DOE (Department of Energy) and the NIH (National Institute of Health). The fifteen year project started in 1990.

a genome

The genome is the genetic blueprint of a human being. It is the complete collection of an organism’s genetic material. The human genome is made up of approximately 31,000 genes located on 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell. A single human chromosome may have more than 250 million DNA base pairs. It is estimated that the entire human genome consists of about 3.1 billion base pairs.

a gene

Genes carry information for making protein required organisms. These proteins determine an organisms appearance , metabolism, immunity, behavior and more.

This study’s goal was the understanding of genetic disease and human evolution. It was a major undertaking to identify all 30,000 DNA genes, determine the sequence of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up the human DNA, storing this information in databases, improving tools for data analysis, transferring related technology to the private sector and addressing the legal, ethical and social issues that arose.

The database has opened the door to the possibility of tailor-made treatments based on an individual’s  unique genetic makeup. Research has lead to more effective “Gene Therapy. The ultimate goal of this research was the cure and elimination of devastating inherited disorders.

All of the genetic information for a human being is packed into 23 pairs of chromosomes. The most important component of a chromosome is the single continuous molecule of DNA. The double-stranded molecule is shaped like a twisted ladder. It is made of nucleotides, which are linked chemical compounds.  Each nucleotide has three parts: deoxyribose which is a sugar, a phosphate compound and any of four bases- adenine, guanine, thymine or cytosine. The genetic code is specified by the order of these four bases referred to as the DNA ladder.

There are two main categories of gene mapping techniques. The first is linkage, or genetic mapping developed by American geneticist Thomas Hunt, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1933 for this procedure. The other category is physical mapping. It is a more precise method that places genes at specific databases from one another. Physical mapping uses a combination of robotics, lasers and computers.

This project successfully identified the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and genetic breast cancer.

 

Works Cited:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Genome_Project