Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project began with the end of years of work supported by the US Department of Energy together with the Department of Health and Medicine. The investigation was proposed by the Dr. Alvin W. Trivelpiece and it was approved by William Flynn Martin, the Deputy Secretary.  The Human Genome Project is a scientific research created for determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up human DNA. Also, the HGP is used to identify and to map the genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional point of view.

Scientists from 20 different countries worked in the human genome project. It was effectively completed thanks to the powerful support from the countries’ institutions such as the National Institute of Health (NIH), which began participating in THG in 1988. The National Institute of Health even created a department for The Human Genome Project which later developed into what it’s now, the National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR).

The project had a budget of $3 billion dollars, but it ended up costing less than expected, more or less, $2.7 billion dollars. It was completed with two years ahead of schedule and it was also performed by some universities and research centers in China, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, United States, The United Kingdom and some other important countries that you can see in this map.

The human genome consists of the secuence of DNA of a human being. It is composed of more or less 20500 genes, such as mice. Everyone has different genes sequences. Even if it’s a small difference, there is never going to be two equal ones. This carries that the data published by the National Center for Human Genome Research is not 100% correct in every human being. It may vary a little bit.

The HGP has helped a lot in the investigation and discoveries of genetic diseases and it has also helped developing some new medicine and some preventive methods that have saved thousands of lives around the world.

The work carried out by researchers and scientists is awesome and also, enormous. If we printed out the abbreviation  of every single base (A,C,T,G) of the whole HG sequence, we would have a pile of printed pages with the same height as the Washington Monument. Even though they had a lot of technology advances in their hands, determining the boundaries between genes and trying to put them in order in the sequence of DNA was a pretty tough work. 

They used extremely powerful microscopes and computers to see the different parts in the strand of DNA, and it seems that they have done a great job if they finished the whole project before time!

The Human Genome Project is one of the most useful and effective discovery that science has ever made and it had helped in so many things that a life without it would be a tough life full of diseases and with almost no prevention.

Alma Ying Valdeolivas, Doha Adel, Silvia Gómez and Alejandro Bullido (4ºA)

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