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Human Genome Project

Few scientific achievements of the twentieth century in the field of biology have as much significance as the completion of the Human Genome Project. Completed almost fifty years after the discovery of the DNA double helix and two years after the cloning of Dolly the sheep; no one, just a few years ago would be guessed that in a few short years we would have a complete documented human genome.

A genome is all the genetic material in any given organism. The purpose of the Human Genome Project was to document a complete human genome. Every human cell contains a nucleus in which chromosomes are stored. Humans have twenty-three chromosomes. Twenty-two are autosomes, which are responsible for all the inherited characteristics of an organism and one is a sex chromosome. Each cell had two pairs of these chromosomes one from each of its parents. The two sex chromosomes determine the sex of an organism XX being female and XY being male.

Genetic material is stored in the form of Chromosomes in the nuclei of cells. Each chromosome contains thousands of genes. Every snippet of genetic information is programmed into a DNA double helix with only the four nucleotides of adenine, cytosine, thymine, and guanine. The final result of the Human Genome Project was a many thousand page book of all the DNA in one human being. The code for DNA is organized into three nucleotide segments, which code for one of twenty different amino acids. The point of DNA is to code for proteins and enzymes, which are both made up of amino acids. Therefore, one strand of DNA can program for one protein, interesting as well because it takes protein to create DNA. One interesting thing scientist discovered during this process was that a large amount of DNA seemed dormant and was unused; scientists are still trying to figure out the point of this seemingly excess DNA.

The US Department of Energy started the Human Genome Project in 1990 but due to the slow pace private industry started their own project and a race ensued between them for a rough draft of the human genome. The private industry project finished only marginally before the governments and both are vowing to put this information to good use. The cells were taken from a variety of different races and their results will be compared so they can research any discrepancies.

This all seems to...

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Category:   Biology

Length:   3 pages (746 words)

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