Human Genome Project
What is the Human Genome Project?
The Human Genome Project was to:
1. identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,
2. determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA,
3. store this information in databases,
4. improve tools for data analysis,
5. transfer related technologies to the private sector, and address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.
Goals of the project
A unique aspect of the U.S. Human Genome Project is that it was the first large scientific undertaking to address potential ELSI implications arising from project data.
Another important feature of the project was the federal government's long-standing dedication to the transfer of technology to the private sector. By licensing technologies to private companies and awarding grants for innovative research, the project catalyzed the multibillion-dollar U.S. biotechnology industry and fostered the development of new medical application.
Whats a genome?
DNA is made up of four similar chemicals (called bases and abbreviated A, T, C, and G) that are repeated millions or billions of times throughout a genome. The human genome, for example, has 3 billion pairs of bases.
The particular order of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs is extremely important. The order underlies all of life's diversity, even dictating whether an organism is human or another species such as yeast, rice, or fruit fly, all of which have their own genomes and are themselves the focus of genome projects. Because all organisms are related through similarities in DNA sequences, insights gained from nonhuman genomes often lead to new knowledge about human biology.