“WHO ARE YOU?”
THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT
|The Human Genome Project is an international endeavor to determine the chemical base pairs which make up DNA and to map out the genes that code for specific biological and functional traits.
Credit: Illustration by Jane Ades, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
In the nucleus of every one of your body cells is all of the information that is needed to theoretically make another copy or clone of yourself. This information is found in your 23 pairs of chromosomes (one of each pair inherited from your mother and one from your father). The first sequencing of a complete human genome was accomplished in June of 2000. This research revealed that the DNA making up your chromosomes contains approximately 3 billion base-pairs organized into around 25,000 genes that code for proteins. It also appeared that perhaps 97 percent of the genetic code had no apparent function (sometimes called “junk DNA”).
What you are as an organism is a product of your inherited genetic code and your environment (nutrition, exercise, injury, disease, etc.) Understanding the human genome will tell us much about our evolutionary origins as well our predispositions to certain diseases. In fact, you can participate in the National Geographic genomics project and have your DNA analyzed to learn much about where your ancestors came from, and when.
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Understanding your genetic code can yield important information about your evolutionary origins: where your ancestors came from and when. Your potential chances of contracting certain diseases can now be predicted by analysis of your genetic code. Finally, DNA analysis is becoming a standard tool in criminal investigations to identify potential criminals and to aquit others that have been wrongly convicted.
This website is from the National Human Genome Research Institute about the Human Genome Project.
This is a National Geographic website about The Genographic Project.