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Limitations of Human Genome Project : Analyzed Using a Christian Worldview

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The Limitations of the Human Genome Project

"I would say that the Human Genome Project is probably more significant than splitting the atom or going to the moon." (Francis Collins) The human genome project, started in 1988, has mapped all the genes in the human body and sequenced them. Researchers are now working on understanding the function of all the genes. This exciting new development in biology has opened up whole new areas in the genetic world. The Human Genome Project was an enormous accomplishment in the field of biology; however, there are limitations to what it can explain.

Ever since Watson and Crick made a model of DNA as a double helix, the field of genetics has been expanding rapidly. Once scientists discovered how the information cells needed was encoded, they then moved on to deciphering the code by discovering the genes and their functions. This led to a whole new field of biotechnologies. Using recDNA methods, it is possible to change the genetic information of an organism. Scientists have created genetically modified crops and have used gene therapy to improve the health of humans. However, the most exciting advance in the field is the sequencing of all the genes in the human body during the Human Genome Project.

What are some implications of thinking that each of us is a product of a program specified in base sequences? One of the main implications of that is that a human being could come to be viewed as nothing more than a complex machine. A machine is not responsible for its own actions; it merely follows the orders of its programming. This could lead to giving people one more excuse not to take responsibility for their own actions. Also, a machine is not extremely valuable. If it is considered to be irreparably damaged, it is discarded. This could lead to a low view of human life. People were created in the image of God, and thus have value far beyond their genetic worth.

Also, it is not totally accurate to think of a person as the sum of their genes. While genes definitely dictate quite a bit about a person, environment also has a huge bearing on who the person becomes. The experiences a person has can shape who he/she becomes. Even identical twins who have the exact same genetics and are raised in a similar environment can have very different personalities. God gives each person a unique spirit that has nothing to do with his/her genetic code. While



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