The Human Genome Project

By Austin Idiarte & Tyler sterrett

What Is It?

The Human Genome Project was the international, collaborative research program whose mission was the mapping and understanding of all the genes of human beings. All of our genes within our bodies are referred to as our "genome."
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How Is It Being Used Today?

The Human Genome Project mapped the locations of our genes and sequences. It is important because it uses information from DNA to develop new ways to treat, cure, or even prevent the thousands of diseases that afflict or harm humankind. Geneticists are able to refer to the genomic library to uncover which genes are associated with which diseases. The archive of genetic information is also being utilized to uncover evolutionary questions that we still have to this day. With the entire human genome sequence available, we are able to uncover mutations and migrations in lineages.
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What are the benefits to society of the Human Genome Project?

What Are The Disadvantages Of The Genome Project?

The biggest disadvantage is that the mapping is carried out on a few individual's genome, and is not representative of all humans. It doesn't answer questions about where the coding of a gene starts and ends, nor does it answer questions about regulation of that gene. There are also many ethical concerns regarding the possibilities of developing designer babies. This may eventually homogenize the human gene pool and cause a loss of diversity among the human population.
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How Does It Affect Organisms (And Which Kind) Physically?

The Human Genome Project affects humans physically. It may lead to true "designer babies" as parents may be able to pick and choose which alleles they want their babies to possess for specific genes. Designing babies can be very beneficial and life-saving as it can prevent a baby from inheriting a specific disease/mutation from its parents but it is also controversial when geneticists mention designing babies for purely aesthetic reasons such as changing the child's eye color. It also affects humans physically because geneticists and healthcare professionals can now locate the gene responsible for causing an illness so treatment can be more focused and effective based on individual requirement.

What's Its Economic Affect?

The economic benefits that have arisen from the HGP are astounding, to say the least. The project was thirteen years long in duration so it provided many professionals with employment. In 2010 alone, genomics directly supported more than 51,000 jobs, and indirectly supported more than 310,000 jobs, according to the Battelle study.Personal income generated by HGP exceeded $244 billion over the time frame, averaging out to $63,700 income per job-year. This created $20 billion in personal income and added $67 billion to the U.S. economy.

HGP spending by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy amounted to $5.6 billion; for the seven years following, federal genomics spending totaled $7.2 billion dollars. The government has even been repaid for its HGP spending. In 2010, tax revenues returned to federal, state and local governments nearly equaled the entire 13-year investment in the HGP. The genomics-enabled industry generated more than $3.7 billion in federal taxes and $2.3 billion in U.S. state and local taxes in 2010.

How Does It Affect The Environment?

One of the only ways the HGP affects the environment is how people have the ability to modify the genes and traits of babies. Changing these genes can cause the baby to inherit, think, and look like whatever you want it to. Although we have the technology and ability to do this, it is a very controversial topic as it's ethicality is debated back and forth. Ultimately, changing genes can cause the loss of diversity and specific diseases across babies.

How Does It Affect The World In A Social Aspect?

The HGP can help and rebuild relationships as diseases and disorders of people can be pinpointed and possibly fixed. Knowing where and why a certain disease is being caused is as important as fixing it. When scientists know where and why a certain disease is occurring, they have the ability to modify and change the genes that cause the disease fixing the problem entirely.
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How Will It Affect Our Future?

One of the ways the HGP can affect our future is how it has the possibility to destroy the diversity within our species. For example, if everyone knows what genes are associated with certain traits, then there is the possibility that they will attempt to create the "ideal" human, which can cancel out human diversity. Human diversity has the possibility to save humankind from certain deadly conditions due to the fact that a condition may only affect one group of people with a certain trait, however, if everyone is the same, then if a certain condition were to occur that would eliminate the particular trait that humans had wanted, humankind could be wiped out entirely. Not knowing the human genome entirely would not even allow humans to modify genes at all, completely avoiding the destruction of human diversity, however, the HGP has its pros and cons.
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Works Cited

"An Overview of the Human Genome Project." An Overview of the Human Genome Project. NIH, n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

MEAGHER, KAREN M., and LISA M. LEE. "Integrating Public Health And Deliberative Public Bioethics: Lessons From The Human Genome Project Ethical, Legal, And Social Implications Program." Public Health Reports 131.1 (2016): 44-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 May 2016.

Walker, Rebecca L., and Clair Morrissey. "Bioethics Methods In The Ethical, Legal, And Social Implications Of The Human Genome Project Literature." Bioethics 28.9 (2014): 481-490. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 May 2016.