Sunday, January 08, 2017

Human Genome

The complete haploid set of instructions for making and grouping a human being is called a Human Genome. It consists of rightly coiled threads of DNA organized into structure called chromosomes. Errors in the genetics instructions cause or contribute to vast majority of human diseases.
The HGP was successful in June 2000 in decoding the Human Genome. The decoding of the genome involved placing in correct order the 3.1 billion base pairs that make up a human DNA. Base pairs are composed of 4 types of chemicals known as nucleotides from pairs with always linking only with T and C linking only with G. One thousand base pairs constitute a gene.
Human Genome Project
It was the most expensive and most ambitious biological project. It was a publically funded international effort launched in 1990 and involved scientists from 18 countries. Its objective was to determine the exact chemical sequence that constitutes DNA in every cell of human body.
Consequence of Decoding of HG
The HGP succeeded in decoding up to 98% of all the 24 different human chromosomes. Broadly speaking, the success of the HGP has ensured that biology will be the foremost science of the 21st century and the next 20-25 years are going to be known as the Genomics Age.
In the field of molecular medicine it will help improve diagnosis of diseases, early deducting to genetic predisposition to genetics diseases and Gene Therapy. Further, genetics has the potential to reveal the differences between individuals so that suitable treatments can be prescribed and rational drug design can be undertaken leading to foliar made drug for individuals. Thus, treatment can be more focused and effective based on the individuals’ requirement.
In the field of DNA, forensics can be used in indentifying war victim’s particularly dead soldiers whose bodies are mutilated beyond recognition. It can provide fool proof results in ascertaining disputed parentage, criminal justice can be more effective with the help DNA forensics and the person who commit murder or rape can be provided with evidence against him.
In the field of agriculture and livestock breeding, understanding of plant and animal genome will help us to create stonger and more disease-resistant plant and animals and reducing the cost of agriculture inputs and providing consumers with more nutritious and pesticides free foods. It will help in the development of bio-pesticides and edible vaccines incorporated into food products.


It may lead to parents attempting to determine which character their offspring shall inherit leading to the development of designer babies. This may seriously restrict the human gene pool and interfere with natural selection and loss of diversity among the human population.
Biological weapons that would attack one ethnic group but would leave other ethnic group untouched could develop leading to racial discrimination. It can also be misuses for developing weapons of mass destruction.

The success of HGP may widen the gap between developed and developing as only the rich countries alone would be able to enjoy the advanced medical treatment.

The social changes brought to genome revolution are reaching where the society may not have any place for those who are less intelligent or physically challenged.

It is possible for people for people to live for a 1000 years. This will force people to choose between treatment to live longer and having children.

Measure to Prevent Genomics

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) have established the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) to recommend measures for the prevention of misuse of genomics. The IBC has drafted a universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights in 1997. The draft has been adopted by the UNESCO and UN General Assembly. However, the declaration is not legally binding on any nation but it makes a distinction. It represents a moral obligation on the part of member countries and coherent set of principles in the field of genetics and the need to protect the confidentiality of genetic information.

Junk DNA

The bps (base pairs) of DNA between genes that have no known function is commonly referred to as Junk DNA. It is believed that Junk DNA may play a role in gene silencing.
A part of the HGP, chromosomes 22, 21 and 20 have been completely decoded. Chromosome 20 was completely decoded in Dec. 2001. Chromosome 22 is the auto some of the human chromosomes.

Gene Treating

It is the GT in which defective genes in a chromosome are replaced by corrective genes to provide cure for hereditary diseases.

Artificial DNA

It is man-made long chain of DNA with thousand of bps (base pairs). The world’s 1st artificial DNA was made at the Texas University. It has been named as synthetic organism-I (So-I). it is a microbe with no known function. This technique can be use to create a series of designer microbes with super-efficient mechanism for injecting target tissue and destroying cancerous cells. Thus, they can be used in treating certain types of cancers. They can also be used to manufacture vitamin C in the human body by allowing them to inject human intestine. The designer microbes can also be used in keeping clean and producing more energy for human use. However, artificial DNA also involves the risk of releasing a microbe master race that may cause unknown but fatal diseases to man and wildlife and pose a threat to the environment. The technique can also be misused for producing biological weapons for mass destruction.

DNA Vaccine

It is the next generation vaccine under development. The DNA is the genetic blueprint that contains hereditary information of an organism. The DNA of pathogen carries the code for a microbial antigen. A conventional vaccine contains the attenuated microbe or the antigen protein but a DNA vaccine contains the genetic information for the protein which is injected and the host becomes a factory for the production of gene product. The host, in course of time, gets immunised against pathogenic microbes. The DNA vaccines would be especially useful in combating Malaria, TB and HIV, the disease that have defied the development of effective vaccines.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that is the most vital constituent of chromosomes. It is responsible for transmitting genetic information in the form of genes from parents to their off springs. Each human cell contains about 2 meters’ of DNA super coiled on itself in such a way that it fits within the cell nucleus which is less than 10 micro-meters.

DNA is comprised of 4 bases adenine-A, Guanine-G, Thymine-T and Cytosine-C. There are also sugar and phosphoric acid organized in a double helix format. Within this format a pairs only with T, and G only with C. DNA is nature’s marvel and is reflected in a child’s similarities with his/her parents.


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