Summary of The Decoding The Human Genome Project

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One of the greatest scientific adventures ever and at the heart of it is a small very powerful molecule DNA known as “The Secret of Life.” The human genome project showed that the majority of the 3 billion base pairs which is 99% are stuff (selfish DNA elements using the body as a host) and only 1% of the genes are active. By knowing the genetic maps of the living organisms, they discovered that the difference between two people is one-tenth of 100% (99% identical at DNA level), also 50% of human genes are present in banana, 97% in backing yeast and twice are in fruit fly. Finding out genome mapping has priority in identifying diseases before they are present and working on cures.

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Scientists worked hard to reach these discoveries to be present for everyone. To illustrate, since 1990, Congress announced the project where scientists around the world, in universities and governmental labs had been embedded in massive efforts to read all the base pairs of 3 billion of human DNA so that they will be able to find medicines and cures. They predicted it needed 15 years which means an entire career of consuming process for decoding the genes that were very lengthy; for instance, it took 10 years to find a protein and 1 year for 1000 genetic codes. 10 years to find 1 genetic mistake that causes Cystic Fibrosis, 10 years for Huntington’s disease and 15 years for 1 of the genes that increase the risk of having breast cancer. What caused a race like space race between Public labs and Celera’s Genomic Company is the competition to reach first the final line in knowing all the 3 billion base pairs. Government, who paid money with old methods, took this whole time to reach, unlike Scientist J. Craig Venter, owner of Celera Genomics’ Company, who used machine (robots) and paid private money same as the government did, but the work was faster and more efficient. In 1998, Dr. Venter announced that 2 years only will show the 3 billion ladder of DNA faster than anyone working on this public project. In 1990, Venter knew scientists taking decoding DNA and genes and his focus was one protein in the brain. Machines were present and Venter used them so the human genomes were chopped by robots into tiny pieces, stained to differentiate the genetic codes and the result was thousand base pairs a second rolling together. November 1999, Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, they have reached a major milestone and the major universities teams, have announced that they finished a billion base pairs of DNA, a third of total genes marking it in the race. Eventually, in February 2001, the human genome was totally decoded and the government decided to call it Tie which means that there isn’t a winner between both parties in reaching this success.

Moreover, Todd Dickinson, former director of US Patent Office, towards the human genome has issued patents on the number of components, compositions that are found in the human body like a gene that encodes for insulin and is used to save diabetic people’s lives. Drug companies are having problems since the approval for a single research will take at least two years and this will lead the cures to be delayed. Some scientists in private companies worked hard in doing researches for cures, but if this invention had an owner then they should pay in return for him; due to this scientists looked to it as a bad deal for society. Also, a number of companies decide to not continue working on the known genes since if it appeared to have an owner, they must pay for it. Because of this, some companies were trying to find new discoveries in genes. On the other hand, there are supporters for patents said they’re critical incentive for drug companies where this cause the companies to make millions of dollar if they had a discovery with a patent. Due to this, research scientists suddenly found themselves in an unfamiliar world ruled by big money and they are becoming entrepreneur only by benefiting of doing science (whether they accept it or not). While others debated that what was happening in medical research fields wouldn’t happen if they were being published and presented to everyone without any charge, unlike Celera Company who believed that the human genome and other related species were just products and less tangible than a machine.

Besides, the human project genome offered the chance to know better about the disease. Take the case of baby Riley, 13 days old and he tested to have Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Cystic Fibrosis (CF) attacks several organisms of the body but especially the lungs and. This disease is detected by several tests, in fact its victims suffer from chronic respiratory infections and half of all CF patients died before the age of 30. Riley had a tiny error in his DNA just 3 letters out of 3 billion were missing. Due to this error, little change or misshape in protein caused a catastrophe. Proteins help the salt to enter and leave the cell, but without it, the salt gets trapped inside the cell and that triggers the whole chain in the reaction which makes the cell surface sticky and covers with thick mucus. Tony has CF but not typically the case, CF usually develops early in childhood but in her case symptoms didn’t appeared until she was 15. She is now at the mid-40s, visiting the hospital three times a year to clear her lungs and continue normally. Dr. Craig Gerard believes that the secret behind what happened lies in her genes. These genes allowed her to more beneficial like one or two proteins which caused the doctor to search for special ingredients present in her. This shows that the disease varies from one to another due to the genes.

Furthermore, the importance of knowing early the genetic map of humans has played an important role to discover the disease before it happened. To illustrate, baby Hayden, who was smiling always and developing normally first few months, his parents later realized that he was developing slowly. This was clear after turning a year old, he wasn’t acting like other children in his age. There was a serious issue happening with him, he never crowded, talked, ate with his fingers, harder and harder to swallow and then became blind, and can’t move on his, this resembled that he was degeneration upon becoming older. All what happened to baby Hayden was because of Tay-Sachs disease, which is caused by a genetic condition that destroys the brain and leaded to his death before his third year. The cause of this disease was due one letter goes wrong out of 3 billion basic pairs, and no way to fix it. Genes are the creator of proteins, that error caused a problem in that protein which job is to dissolve fats in the brain, but when it didn’t work this lead the fats to build up, swells the brain and eventually strangles and crushes credible brain cells. Cameron was healthy except that she startled easily, unlike her cousin Hayden who startled heavily, but after doing the blood test it appeared that she has Tay-Sachs. Tay-Sachs is a very rare condition and can occur specifically (like in Ashkenazi Jews) and that what happened to Lord’s family. Hayden and Cameron must inherit the bad gene from both normal parents since they are carrier of this recessive disease. What happened to both Hayden and Cameron show that ¼ of the offspring have the disease.

Continuing, the human genome project progress hit highly the place of the discovery quicker. Mary-Claire King was one of the scientists who discovered the changes and mutations in 2 specific genes which lead to ovarian and breast cancer and these diseases called BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. BRACA 1 and 2 are perfect way heathy normal genes that all have, but in infected families, mutations in these genes are inherited. For women with BRCA 1 and 2 mutations, the life of the risk is about 80% which is very high while it is 10% in normal women. BRCA mutations are relatively rare and only cause maybe 5 to 10% of all breast cancer. Lissa, the sister of Melanie who has cancer (she died) was obliged to do medical surgery to remove her right breast then her ovaries because of cancer and she has high risk to have cancer in her left breast. This explain that the gene of this disease is carried by the sisters. Lissa, the mother for 2 kids has 50 % chance to inherit BRCA mutation to her children, this what happened to her daughter Alanna that she felt a lump in her breast but she decided not to test. The only way to know is to take a test, some people who are carrier of the diseased allele prefer not to do the test like Alanna so that they won’t do medical surgery to remove their breasts and ovaries to reduce the risk, instead of they prefer to monitor and wait. However, others prefer to do the test so that if they tested positive, they can directly do the medical surgery and decrease the rate of the risk. This resembles a moral dilemma between these two decisions.

In addition, diseases are part of genes, have been detected by genome maps. Combining several genes, family trees, medical reports with the state of DNA analysis and with the help of computer technology can lead to better drugs or cures for whole range of diseases. Through this, scientists choose Iceland to look for genes that cause the diseases because virtually the people are descended and family trees are all now present in giant data place. On the contrary, this had formed a moral dilemma especially when Karl Stefansson, president of Decode Company asked the government of Iceland to give his company exclusive access to the entire country’s medical report in exchange they will pay money since it can link anything in the computer such DNA, heath records and family trees. Because of this, 25% of the doctors reject the idea and one of them was Tomas Zoega who said that upon accessing the data, they will know everything about you not only about your medical history but also your medical past, genes, DNA, your future, children and relatives. To specify more, owning your private genetic information by companies instead of being private will oblige people to be under their control and that is not ethical.

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To summarize, in today’s world, with all the technologies present in the genomic and research fields, you can easily detect all the diseases before they happened and determine the necessary cures. Like what Lieutenant Torres did in changing some genes of her baby by implantation to protect him, it is possible to create a human being with the advantages from other creatures. This shows how science is becoming more and more creative by only identifying genome map as they are doing transplantation of the organs from two non-identified individuals that helps in saving lives. In conclusion, the genome project played an essential role to understand the human body in every single gene.

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Summary of the Decoding the Human Genome Project. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
“Summary of the Decoding the Human Genome Project.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
Summary of the Decoding the Human Genome Project. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2023].
Summary of the Decoding the Human Genome Project [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2023 Sept 29]. Available from:
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