The Human Genome Project Essay

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The Human Genome Project “The Human Genome Project (HGP) was the largest biological investigation ever undertaken”[1] which began in 1990 and spanned 13 years. It achieved its goal in 2003 by identifying the sequence of over 3 billion base pairs which constitute the human genome (the complete genetic material of an organism). The project was heralded by the research conducted in 1953 by the scientists Watson and Crick who discovered that DNA existed as a double helical structure (enabling DNA replication), from images of Rosalind Franklin’s DNA X-ray diffraction. Despite the potential positive applications of the project’s results such as in molecular medicine, it has been scrutinized for being…show more content…
It is estimated that 95% of the human genome is junk, and do not code for polypeptides – these are called introns. Therefore the remaining 100,000 genes would be identified first using a technique called base sequencing. Firstly, the DNA is sheared into short fragments. The fragment is then ligated (the process of DNA insertion) into a loop of nonessential bacterial DNA called a plasmid. The plasmids are then inserted into E. coli bacteria and multiplied. Now a “library” has been created. The next step is known as template preparation, and here the DNA is purified and sequencing chemistries are conducted on it whereby DNA fragments are dyed with fluorescent markers and ordered in sequencing machines when overlapping base sequences appear. Finally the results are verified, annotated and submitted to public databases ready for sharing. The results of the HGP are like a massive manual of how the human body works. This means it is set to have dramatic effects in the field of medical science. Genome based research will lead to doctors having better diagnostic tools, highly effective medicines and the ability to “understand the health needs of people based on their individual genetic make-ups”[4]. Doctors will be able to produce individualised analysis on a person’s genome meaning effective preventative medicines can be produced. Also, a person’s future

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