What you should know about the Human Genome Project

The human genome project was an ambitous research programme conducted by the United States Department of Energy together with the National Institutes of Health to identify the thousands of human genes and the sequences of billions of chemical base pairs of human DNA. Part of the research was the study of the genetic makeup of other organisms, such as the e.coli bacterium.

Along with these main objectives, it was also the aim of the research project to create a database of the findings, so as to maximize the use of DNA knowledge and understanding. The project was also aimed at improving the tools being used in DNA analysis and then to eventually give the technology to the private sector. This transfer of technology brought about the development of new medical applications that would not have been developed without the technology. The biotechnology industry in the United States has also been transformed into a multi billion dollar industry as the technology became available to private industries.

Moreover, the project aimed to address all the issues concerning the study, from legal issues to ethical issues to broader social issues. In fact, it was the first project of its kind that addressed the ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) that are commonly associated with such huge scale undertaking.

The project was originally planned to take fifteen years to complete. However, with the advances in computing technology and other technology related tools, the project was completed ahead of schedule. By 2000, the researchers already had the rough draft and by the following year, the draft was finished and published. The project began in 1990 and was officially completed by 2003. It successfully achieved all its objectives.

Funding for the project came from various sources, primarily from the United States’ National Institute of Health and various non-profit organizations in the United Kingdom. Other organizations from across the globe also contributed to support the sequencing centers. The sequencing centers were the Whitehead Institute, Washington University, Baylor College of Medicine and Sangre Center. The project was considered one of the biggest undertakings in modern research because of its magnitude and scope.

The human genome project has contributed significantly to the field of medicine and biotechnology. The results of the project enabled medical science to find new ways to test different illnesses and conditions, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It also allowed scientists to discover genes that are related to diseases and conditions.



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