Human Genome Project and Stem Cells

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The human genome project, together with research on stem cells, will form the basis of most medical treatments in the next few decades.

Before discussing this statement it is important to analyse each component. What is a genome? And why is it relevant to us? A genome is the building block of all living organisms, it consists of the mapping or instructions to how an organism functions, and it does this through the use of DNA and genes. Genes are a group of DNA; Genes hold instructions and information about the production of specific proteins which is fundamental to all organisms. In other words these proteins determine such things as, how organisms look, the metabolism efficiency of food, how the organism fights infection, how it behaves and much more. DNA is a chemical composition of four main chemicals which are called bases (A, T C, G). These bases pair up making “base pairs” (A with T and C with G). These pairs and there order are repeated billions of times throughout the genome and hence act has a binomial language in essence. Because these base pairs (As, Ts, Cs, Gs) act as a language and are used as instructions by the organism, the order is therefore extremely important. The order “underlies all of life's diversity”, it determines weather the organism is human or another species ( eg : vinegar fly, yeast or a bird).

What is the Human Genome Project?
The Genome Project was a research initiative which began in 1990. The project was planned to be a 15 year effort, but due to societies accelerated technological advances the project ended in 13 years, in 2003. The main purpose and goals of the project included: 1.identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA, 2.determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA, this information in databases,

4.improve tools for data analysis,
5.transfer related technologies to the private sector, and
6.address the ethical, legal, and social issues...
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