The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international research project with the primary objective of sequencing and determining the base pairs in human DNA, and the exact location and functions of various genes. [A genome is the complete set of DNA of an organism] The HGP lasted from 1990-2003, and was led by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, which were both funded by congress to conduct further research on the human genome. The final sequence was published in April of 2003 and had great impacts on genomic research.
What was the practice?
The practice involved finding and establishing the order of the 3 billion DNA nitrogenous bases, mapping out the bases according to their location on the chromosomes, and creating linkage maps (which are used to track deleterious alleles, leading to genetic diseases, through numerous generations). The genomes of other organisms, such as the fruit fly, roundworm, or mouse- which have been used to advance medical research- were also sequenced.
What were the findings?
The researchers discovered that there are 20,500 human genes, and the functions and locations for them. This gene number was much lower as compared with previous estimates for 100,000’s of human genes. By uncovering the functions and structure of genes, scientists were able to advance research greatly and create a ‘blueprint’ for a human being.
What was the impact?
The HGP was monumental to advancing research regarding cures for diseases, gene therapy, early disease detection. The primary practice and strategies used also helped promote the study of similar genes in other organisms, which are also present in the human genome. By identifying common genes in the genomes of different organisms, researchers were able to identify genes vital for life.
Collins, Francis S, and Leslie Fink. “The Human Genome Project.” Alcohol Health and Research World, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1995, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6875757/.
Gannett, Lisa. “The Human Genome Project.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 26 Nov. 2008, plato.stanford.edu/entries/human-genome/.
“Human Genome Project Information Archive1990–2003.” Human Genome Project Information, web.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/index.shtml.
“What Is the Human Genome Project?” Genome.gov, http://www.genome.gov/human-genome-project/What.
“What Was the Human Genome Project and Why Has It Been Important? – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/hgp/description.
“What Were the Goals of the Human Genome Project? – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/hgp/goals.