Started in 1990, the Human Genome Project is an international scientific research project with the primary objective of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs that make up DNA.
Another objective was to identify and map the estimated 25000 genes that make up the human genome. The broad overall purpose was to understand the genetic makeup of the human species. The final report was completed in 2003 with ongoing addenda being added periodically.
Here are ten facts about the Human Genome Project:
- The human genome consists of between 30,000 to 40,000 genes.
- The gene count of a human is only twice that of a worm or fly.
- A human has more control genes than a fruit fly, worm or any other species. Over a process of evolution, the subtlety and variety of genes that control other genes has grown in humans as opposed to other species.
- There has been a mechanism of transfer still not fully understood. From this we conclude that hundreds of genes have been transferred from bacteria to humans, or possibly but unlikely, the other way about. It is a startling reminder of the unity of life.
- A larger number of cell divisions take place in the male germ line. This is the probable reason why most mutations occur in males.
- More than 1.4 million SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms) have been identified. It is believed all humans are 99.98 percent genetically similar.
- Previously it was believed that 97 percent of genes served no purpose. The project has disproved this perception.
- All pharmaceutical drugs on the market target just 483 locations in the human body.
The HGP research has vastly opened the gateway to knowledge of how the human body works and functions.
- A clearer picture of how we ‘evolved’ as human beings is emerging. Genetic sequencing is furnishing more proof of how humans emerged from monkeys 25 million years ago. It also illustrates the close relationship of humans with other life forms.
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