(PCM) The Human Genome Project was completed on April 14th of 2003 and it was a breakthrough for scientific researchers across the globe, however many of you may be wondering what exactly The Human Genome Project is and just why it is so important.
First let’s look at the definition of a genome. A genome is an organism’s complete set of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a chemical compound that contains the genetic instructions needed to develop and direct the activities of every organism. DNA molecules are made of two twisting, paired strands. Each strand is made of four chemical units, called nucleotide bases. The bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). Bases on opposite strands pair specifically; an A always pairs with a T, and a C always with a G.
The human genome contains approximately 3 billion of these base pairs, which reside in the 23 pairs of chromosomes within the nucleus of all our cells. Each chromosome contains hundreds to thousands of genes, which carry the instructions for making proteins. Each of the estimated 30,000 genes in the human genome makes an average of three proteins.
The main goal of The Human Genome Project was to find a way to sequence these strands of DNA material to create a completed version of the human genetic code. It is not known exactly whose DNA was used to sequence the work of The Human Genome project, as the volunteers were kept anonymous for their protection. It is noted however the researchers used the DNA of multiple volunteers to complete their overall DNA sequencing to create a used map of human genetic code. Candidates were recruited from a diverse population. The volunteers provided blood samples after being extensively counseled and then giving their informed consent. About 5 to 10 times as many volunteers donated blood as were eventually used, so that not even the volunteers would know whether their sample was used. All labels were removed before the actual samples were chosen.
It was revealed in 2003 that after much research that took place throughout the 1990’s was sequenced as well, the researchers felt that they had a completed and high quality version of the human sequence. Research was also done on both mice and rats to complete their genomes as well.
Many may wonder if given further advances in technology since 2003 if The Human Genome Project is actually indeed complete and researchers say, yes, it is, at least as much as it can be! Small gaps that are unrecoverable in any current sequencing method remain, amounting for about 1 percent of the gene-containing portion of the genome. New technologies will have to be invented to obtain the sequence of these regions.
However, the gene-containing portion of the genome is complete in nearly every functional way for the purposes of scientific research and is freely and publicly available. Even though the Human Genome Project is now completed, scientists will continue to develop and apply new technologies to the few remaining refractory problems. Researchers to this day continue to search for additional ways to read the tiny pieces of DNA sequence, however they feel The Human Genome Project is as complete as it can be and can be used a wonderful took for improving human health and well-being, now and into the future.
Genome researcher still continues as a way to look at previously undiagnosed diseases, precision medication options and more! The Human Genome Project was one of the great feats of exploration in history – an inward voyage of discovery rather than an outward exploration of the planet or the cosmos; an international research effort to sequence and map all of the genes – together known as the genome – of members of our species, Homo sapiens. It is a first-hand look at natures complete genetic blue-print of a human being!