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Human Genome Project - Human Genetics

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Human Genome Project A genome is defined as the complete collection of an organisms genetic material. The human genome is composed of about 50,000 to 100,000 genes located on 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell. It is said that a single human chromosome may contain more than 250 million DNA base pairs, and it is estimated that the entire human genome consists of about 3 billion base pairs. The DNA is gathered through blood samples taken from many different people. Though each person has a unique set of DNA the difference in a given pair of samples is less than 1 percent making the differences pale in comparison to the similarities. The Human Genome Project is an international collaboration of scientists who's goal is to gain a basic understanding of the genetic blueprint of a human being. This information is found in each cell of the body, encoded in the DNA. The intent of this project is to identify all genes in the nucleus of a human cell, to map where those genes are on the chromosomes of the nucleus, and to determine the seqeuncing or the order of these chemical subunits of the DNA. The idea to undertake such a project was came about through a series of scientific conferences held between 1985 and 1987. The actual project ,however, did not begin until 1990 with the expansion of funding from the NIH and DOE. There are many nations involved with this project as part of an informal pact including France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and many other european nations. Also in an effort to speed up the mapping and sequencing process several private companies have been enlisted to help such as Celera Genomics. Today there is a lot of research being done under the umbrella of the Human Genome Project. For instince gene therapy is being developed as a very real cure for such hereditary diseases as Cystic Fibrosis and Parkinsons where somewhere in the genetic make up of the body there is a glich tht alows the nervous tissue of the brain to deteriorate at a slow but steady rate. With gene therapy we will be able to replace the tissue in the brain with correctly funtioning tissue from an animal such as a pig. As of early 1999 the Human Genome Project was ahead of schedule. There is said to be nearly 10 percent of the genome sequenced already or about 7,600 genes have been mapped to particular chromosomes. Also, researchers have sequenced the complete genomes of several other organisms such as E. Coli . This should help scientists to find parallels between our genes and the genes of other organisms. When completed this project will reap great rewards for the time and effort put in. Biologists will be able to look at detailed DNA information that will help in understanding the structure, organization, and function of DNA in chromosomes. Genome maps of other creatures will provide a way for scientists to learn more about more complex biological systems such as our own. In other words this information will revolutionize the future biological studies.



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