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The Human Genome Essay

2635 words - 11 pages

The Human genome is what makes us what we are as humans. It is made of about 3 billion different parts called nucleotides. (University of California Santa Cruz). The nucleotides are the units that DNA is made up of. One nucleotide is made up of 3 parts called deoxyribose molecule, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base. There are 4 kinds of bases in DNA there are adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. DNA is found in the form of a double helix. (Miller and Levine) Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. You get 23 single chromosomes from each parent which come together to make the 23 pairs that make you who you are. (See Shevick)

Sequencing DNA and RNA
Think of sequencing like decoding but a genome is much too long to be decoded all at once so instead scientists pick little bits and pieces of the genome and try to decode that little part. (The Genome News Network) After they have many parts the next step is to put the decoded parts into the right order. It is like a big puzzle or matching game that takes many years to solve.
There are two different ways that scientists use to decode DNA. (The Genome News Network) The first is called the clone by clone method and the other one is called a whole genome shotgun method. In clone by clone they cut the genome into approximately 150 000 base or nucleotide pairs then they use genome mapping to solve where each part should go. Next they cut it into even smaller parts, about 500 pairs so they can work easier with it and decode the information. The other method, the shotgun way, is to break down the genome into much smaller parts decoding them and putting them back together. The first way is a lot slower but more trustworthy where shotgun can be very fast but hard to use. Both of these 2 methods were used to decode the human genome and all of this was done with the help of cutting edge computers and tools.

Research Done on the Human Genome
The first person to even suggest such a big project was Robert Louis Sinsheimer. He did this in 1985. He was a Nobel Prize winner. He won it for his work in DNA sequencing. He said that his project would be the so called ‘holy grail of biology’ (Great Scientific Achievements) The most recent work done with the human genome is the human genome project where many scientists from many different counties including the United Kingdoms, France and the Netherlands (Sciencemuseum.uk, where was it done?) worked together to completely discover or sequence the DNA of Homo sapiens. The team also worked on other species genomes such as a mouse. (Genetics Home Reference) The project started in 1990. The two companies to kick start the project were the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the department of energy they also joined with many companies from all over the world.
To do such a huge task you really needed the support of the public to do this. The New York Times posted many articles about the project to try to win over the public. (See Gina Kolata) One...

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