Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Human Genome Project -- Blake Werab

I. Introduction
The Human Genome Project is one of the most critical and recent discoveries of this generation. The human genome of each person is different, besides identical twins like myself, and it is the map of all our genes and DNA which makes us, us. So basically the goal of this project is to find the sequence of base pairs that make up an individual's DNA and map the genes of the human genome. It is like our karyotyping exercise we did which is the human genome. The human consists of about 3 billion DNA chemical base pairs or letters (T,A,C,G). In this project, scientist would look at the base pairs and see if they could come up with the correct or accurate genome for that individual.
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II. Discovery
At first, this project was supposed to be run by James D. Watson. Watson then got in an arguement with his boss and was forced to resign. After this the project was given to one of the famous geneticists Francis Collins. Francis Collins studied at Yale University and studied the human genome. The United States Deparment of Energy began the Human Genome project in about 1990 and this was expected to take about 15 years. With a great team by his side, Collins had a rough draft by 2000 and was saving the department money. The human genome project is still continually being added onto today and the discovery of this project was and is a major breakthrough in genetics and can explain genetic reasons for unknown and rare disorders.
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III. Biography of Founder
Francis Collins was born on April 14th, 1950 on a small farm in Virginia. He was home-schooled until about the 7th grade and he later attended Robert E. Lee High School. He is the youngest of his four siblings, all being boys, one being Dr. Fletcher Collins. Collins had no interest in biology and moved on to recieve a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University in 1974. He found his love of DNA and RNA (Nucleic Acids) in a biochemistry class during his studies. Collins is also well-known for what he calls "positional cloning". Positional cloning is like gene hunting or looking for genes that are diseased without knowing what the abnormalities might be. Collins' team found a new approach towards genes that are the cause of cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, and neurofibromatosis. In 1993 he accepted an invite to become the leader of the Human Genome Project. A working draft of the human genome was made in 2000 and Collins was very happy to the fact it was ahead of schedule and under the budget line. Collins believes that this project can help find the cures to killer diseases such as heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
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IV. Impact on World/Humanity
The Human Genome Project basically made a map of all the base pairs in one individual's DNA. This is very critical in seeing if this person has a disorder or disfunction and what I disagree with, changing these genes to create the "perfect baby". Now I am not saying if my child, god for bid, had a deadly disorder that they can cure then I would have them cure it in a heartbeat, but if it were to just change the babies eye color then I disagree with it. The Human Genome Project is one of the most interesting topics because the genome maps out all of the genes of a human being and to find out this information is unbelievable. Also, to know all of the base pairs of your own unique DNA (besides identical twins) is pretty cool and it is a very interesting and new discovery.

V. Journal Article Review
This journal article, written by Virginia Miller, is a great example on how people can be helped by the discovery of the Human Genome Project. It gives examples of peoples everyday lives and shows how this project will help not only the patient, but also the patient's family. It also describes how this project can help financially with the healthcare of the patient's family and how it can even find a cure for the patient's disease, in some cases. This project is also good for the families to find out or test to see if their upcoming baby may have a deadly disorder that can only be cured in the prenatal enviorment. Then they can cure this disoreder and have a hopefully healthy baby. If the parents use this project to see what color eyes their baby will have, then I disagree because their eye color is not a matter of life and death and they can wait 9 months.

VI. Videos

VII. References
5) For biography of Francis Collins

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