The Human Genome Project

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Click on the image above to view a 16 minute video clip.  How are we "just beginning readers" in relation to to the Human Genome?What was the Human Genome Project?

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was the international, collaborative research program whose goal was the complete mapping and understanding of all the genes of human beings.
All our genes together are known as our "genome."
The HGP has revealed that there are probably about 20,500 human genes. The completed human sequence can now identify their locations. This ultimate product of the HGP has given the world a resource of detailed information about the structure, organization and function of the complete set of human genes. This information can be thought of as the basic set of inheritable "instructions" for the development and function of a human being.
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How long did this project take to complete?

In 1990, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy joined with international partners in a quest to sequence all 3 billion letters, or base pairs, in the human genome, which is the complete set of DNA in the human body. This concerted, public effort was the Human Genome Project.

In April 2003, researchers successfully completed the Human Genome Project, under budget and more than two years ahead of schedule!  However . . . Click here to find out why "completed" may not mean 100%.

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Where are we now with the Human Genome Project?
  • The Human Genome Project has already fueled the discovery of more than 1,800 disease genes.
  • As a result of the Human Genome Project, today’s researchers can find a gene suspected of causing an inherited disease in a matter of days, rather than the years it took before the genome sequence was in hand.
  • There are now more than 2,000 genetic tests for human conditions. These tests enable patients to learn their genetic risks for disease and also help healthcare professionals to diagnose disease.
  • Having the complete sequence of the human genome is similar to having all the pages of a manual needed to make the human body. The challenge now is to determine how to read the contents of these pages and understand how all of these many, complex parts work together in human health and disease.
  • What's next for the Human Genome Project?
  • Individualized analysis based on each person’s genome will lead to a powerful form of preventive, personalized and preemptive medicine. By tailoring recommendations to each person’s DNA, health care professionals will be able to work with individuals to focus efforts on the specific strategies — from diet to high-tech medical surveillance —
  •  that are most likely to maintain health for that particular individual.
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