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The Human Genome Project : An American Geneticist

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THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT

The human genome project has its origins in the mid-1980s, but its intellectual roots stretch back further. Alfred Sturtevant an American geneticist created the first Drosophila gene map in 1911. In 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double helical structure of the DNA molecule. This discovery was the first crucial step in molecular genome analysis, and in much of the molecular biological research of the last half-century. In the mid-1970s, Frederick Sanger developed techniques to sequence DNA and with this development the idea of analyzing the entire human genome was first proposed by a few academic biologists. The early genome project was established in 1987 and in 1988, Congress funded both the National Institute of Health and the Department of Energy to embark on further exploration of this concept. In 1990 the initial plans for the project were drawn up and made public through a joint research plan, “Understanding Our Genetic Inheritance: The Human Genome Project, The First Five Years, FY 1991-1995.” (NIH, 2012). This initial research plan set out specific goals for the first five years of what was to then predicted to be a 15-year research effort (NIH, 2012). In 2001, the Human Genome Project published its results showing a 90 percent complete sequence of all three billion base pairs in the human genome (NIH, 2012).
The HGP employed a two-phase approach to uncover the human genome sequence. The first phase used DNA shotgun
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