A genome is all the DNA in an organism, including it’s genes. Genes carry information for making all the proteins required by all organisms. These proteins determine, among other things, how the organism looks, acts, processes and fights infections.
DNA is made up of four similar chemicals (bases, adenine , Thymine , cytosine , and guanine ) that are repeated millions or billions of times throughout a genome. The human genome has three billion base pairs. The order of these base pairs are extremely important and determine everything in an organism.
The Human Genome Project started in the mid-1980’s and was discussed widely throughout the scientific community and public press in the last years of the decade. In the United States, DOE first and soon afterward NIH were the main research agencies within the US government responsible for developing and planning the project. By 1988, the two agencies were working together, and their relationship was formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, to coordinate research and technical activities related to the human genome. The initial planning process culminated in 1990 with the publication of a joint research plan.
The Human Genome Project’s ultimate goal is to discover all the more than 80,000 human genes and render them for further biological study. To facilitate the future interpretation of human gene function, parallel studies are being carried out on selected model organisms.
Smaller goals include, to identify all the approximately 100,000 genes in human DNA, to determine the sequences of the three billion chemical bases that make up human DNA, to store this information in databases, to develop faster and more efficient sequencing technologies, to develop tools for data analysis, and to address the ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.
The massive amount of data and related technologies generated by the HGP and other genomic research presents a wide array of commercial opportunities. These opportunities range from medicine and food to energy and environmental resources.
Older companies are racing to retool and newer companies are seeking parts in the information revolution with DNA at it’s core. IMB, Compaq, DuPoint, and other...