Human genome project: history, interesting facts, progress so far.
The Human Genome Project or HGP was a humongous international interdisciplinary research to understand the human genome. By far, HGP is considered one of the finest works of the 21st century.
Over the centuries, scientists have been trying to understand the overall human body and its link to other species in the world. Research in biomedical science dates back to the era of Leonardo DiVinci. A lot has been done starting from vaccine discovery to transplants. But there was a need to understand the human body both structurally and functionally in a detailed manner. To achieve this, the inception of HGP happened. Following are some interesting facts about this big scientific breakthrough. Read on.
History of HGP:
Whatever you do, is controlled by your gene or genome (when considered as a combined form). Scientists tried to map all these genes through this project. The project began on 1st October 1990 and finished on April 2003. HGP involved scientists from 20 different research centers across the USA, UK, Germany, France, China, and Japan. This group is called International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium.
The outcomes of HGP:
HGP provided scientists with some basic information regarding the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs in the form of adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine, which are responsible for making human genomic DNA. Furthermore, HGP was intended to improve the technologies required for the interpretation and analysis of genomic sequences. This ultimately helped to identify all genes encoded in human DNA. There are 30,000-40,000 genes present in the human genome, in contrast to the earlier estimation of 100000 genes. It was also observed that the rate of mutations is much higher in males than females. You will be surprised to know that, the value is as much as two times in some genes. For a considerable period, scientists were puzzled about the functions of junk DNA, which is as much as 97% of total DNA. Yes, you read it right. The amount of junk DNA is that much high. Only 3% of DNA is functioning properly inside your body. So why does this large amount of DNA occur? They function as a transporter. In other words, they are capable of moving important genes inside the body.
Importance of HGP in biomedical science and future directions:
When you are aware of the complete genome sequence, it helps greatly in diagnosis, eventually treating any disease. HGP explained the reason behind the occurrence of rare genetical diseases. At the same time, specialized or personalized treatment wouldn’t be possible without HGP.
Therefore, for the first time, HGP helped to understand the entire genetic blueprint of the human species. Scientists are hopeful that human health will become better with improved implementation.