The Goals Of The Human Genome Project

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Register to read the introduction… The three billion base pairs in the haploid genome contain an amount of information equivalent to 200 telephone books of 1,000 pages each. The smallest chromosome (Y) is about 50 million base pairs, the largest (#1) is approximately 250 million! If all the chromosomes in one human cell were removed, unwound, and placed end to end, the DNA would stretch more than five feet, and would be only 50 trillionths of an inch wide.

Goals of the Human Genome Project

The primary goal of the Human Genome Project is to generate detailed maps of the human genome. These maps will aid in determining the location of genes within the human genome; more specifically, it will assign genes to their chromosomes. There are two types of maps that are being developed, genetic linkage maps and physical maps. Genetic linkage maps determine the relative arrangement and approximate distances between genes and markers on the chromosomes, whereas physical maps specify the physical location and distance between genes or DNA fragments.

After mapping is complete, the DNA must be sequenced to determine the order of all the nucleotide bases of the chromosomes, and the genes in the DNA sequence must be identified. In all aspects of the project, a major focus has been developing instrumentation to increase the speed of data collection and
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However, certain implications must also be addressed. Members of the scientific community disagree as to whether the benefits of the Human Genome Project outweigh the costs. Some researchers question the scientific merits of this monumental project, especially in an era of diminishing funding for basic scientific research. Some scientists argue that dwindling federal funds would be better spent on specific research projects, such as cures for heart disease and cancer.
Other issues pertain to protection of personal information of genetic history. People have been denied insurance coverage because a family member has a genetically inherited disorder. Although much of this information will have a positive impact on society, other uses may increase discrimination, restrict reproduction, affect employment and insurance coverage decisions, and cause personal unhappiness to those who receive genetic information for which they are unprepared. Certain legislation may be necessary to protect individuals with known genetic problems and/or disorders. Also laws may need to be implicated to protect the confidentiality of genetic information. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prevents some kinds of genetic discrimination, was enacted. By July 1994, all companies with 15 or more employees had to comply with this federal law. However, some issues remain unresolved. For example, although people with a genetic disorder are protected, what about the family of a carrier of a genetic disorder, or the person who has discovered that he or she will get a debilitating or even fatal disease in the

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