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Human Genome Project: Ethical and Legal IssuesBY: bluemoon silverstars | Category: Others | Submitted: 2010-05-26 21:27:39
Human genome project is the result of the hard work of two departments; US department of Energy and NIH Genome Programs. What basically human genome project is? In 2001, the scientists, under the supervision of James Watson, of the above mentioned institutes succeeded in characterizing the whole genetic material of the DNA by determining the sequence of this molecule. Human genome project is very important in the sense that its purpose is to discover all the 35,000 human genes, map them and make them available for further study of biology. Human genome project after discovering the whole human genome, is now studying the genome of other organisms also, for example E.coli, the fruit fly.
After spending so much money and searching the human genome, scientists finally succeeded in getting the complex information of genetic makeup in the inherent DNA. Scientists finally made their conclusion that there are approximately 35000 genes in the single DNA molecule of humans. They stated that there are almost 3 billion chemical bases which are arranged in specific sequences. If we see a single cell bacterium, even that organism has enough information to study in its genome. Se can say that DNA is the greatest discovery of scientists in the 20th century. James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 were the first scientists who discovered DNA and its bases and it was the greatest scientific discovery of all times.
The aim of the Human Genome project was to map the nucleotides at the haploid level. But some scientists tried to study the Human genome at the diploid level. Every living organism has a unique genome that is they differ from each other even in genetic makeup also. Basic purpose of studying the human genome was to sequence all the genes present in the DNA molecule. But still some sequences have not yet been sequenced.
Some scientists say that human genome has been completely sequenced but some state that it still has to be sequenced completely. However, it is a fact that some regions re still un-sequenced, for example,
1) It is difficult to sequence the central part of the chromosome that is centromere because this part of the chromosome has repetitive sequences of DNA and with modern technology; it is difficult to map all the repetitive sequences. Another reason is that there are millions of base pairs present on centromeres, so all the base pairs are not sequenced.
2) The end parts of the chromosomes that is telomeres too contain the repetitive base pairs that is why they are also difficult to sequence by using sequencing techniques.;
3) Shotgun sequencing method has not the potential to sequence the multigene families that are present on the chromosomes. Because these sequences are unscrambled.
But still it is known that 92% of the genome has been sequenced yet and 8% still remains. Scientists will have to develop new technologies and techniques and will make deep study for the sequencing of the telomeres and centromeres until then theses parts of the chromosomes will remain unsequenced. Scientists still have to know yet that how the individuals are genetically different from each other and how the genome of the individuals evolve. There are a lot of other things which scientists still have to explore.
Human Genome Project has some ethical and legal issues. Human Genome project was developed to highlight some ethical or legal issues. Though scientists have succeeded in sequencing the human genome and they know how the defected genes can be replaced with the healthy genes but these techniques have not yet been applied practically, though they have discovered the methods in the laboratory. There are some diseases like breast cancer and color blindness which have been cured by detecting the faulty genes in the individual.
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