What is the Human Genome Project?

It’s been quite a chill week- SSS continued so I only had about 8 hours of contact time. Is this what it feels like to be an Humanities student…? Haha I kid, I know from Ken that less contact hours doesn’t necessarily mean less work! I had my first MMR injection on Wednesday and it hurt (waaa, I hate injections), but I was brave, didn’t wince this time, and the nurse didn’t have to keep telling me to stop tensing, progress! It’s annoying that I have to get vaccinated again, even though I had them done as a kid, but since we left those records in Nigeria, the medical school insists for me to have then redone. Better safe than sorry, I guess. I have my second MMR and Hepatitis B vaccinations after Christmas, yay…

On a lighter note, got the results of my formative Chemistry and summative Maths assessments back and they were okay, thank you Jesus! Week 12 exams are drawing closer, scary times, so I need to start going HAM with revision. Will. not. panic. I can do it! Also, Catching Fire was AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING. That is all.

(OH and before I forget, if anyone’s been watching Bedlam on Channel 4, the documentary on mental care and health, the wards featured are where I was privileged to do work experience in during the summer. Such a show is important to increase public awareness on such issues, and although I can see where those who think it’s ethically wrong are coming from, I just think the benefits outweigh the negatives. Also, Dr B! Such a lovely man; it really was an honour to have been able to shadow him.)

Anyways, here’s this week’s SSS research:

Through a Google Alerts news update, I was directed to this very helpful Microsoft Projects page that gave me foundation knowledge on the Human Genome Project. I found it very straightforward and easy to understand so it was a good beginning for me. I might add it to my final presentation to help me explain the HGP, but it’s still quite early to decide that.

Here are some points I picked up from the page;

– The HGP has had an estimated cost of $2.7 billion.

– In 1997, the gene that causes Parkinson’s disease was identified. (Note to self: Parkinson’s is another potential one to consider for my chosen disease)

– The HGP identified about 25,000 genes in human DNA.

– It involved 20 organisations across the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan and China.

– Thanks to the HGP:
-1800+ disease genes have been identified i.e. those associated with breast cancer, muscular disease, deafness and blindness.
-2000+ genetic tests are now available for human conditions.
-It takes days rather than years to find a gene causing an inherited disease.

REFERENCE– Anon. (2013). Great Projects Campaign- Human Genome Project.Available: http://greatprojectscampaign.com/human-genome-project.html. Last accessed Saturday 23rd November

Also, I found out that the Human Genome project started in 1990 as a result of the National Institutes of Health and Department of Energy in the US joining with international partners on a project to sequence all 3 billion base pairs in the Human Genome. The data generated was made available freely on the internet, and the project was completed in April 2003, two years ahead of schedule and under budget (NIH, 2013). I thought the HGP was still going on today, so finding that out was a surprise. (Note to self: Find out what the budget for the whole project was.)

A quote from the site I found interesting, “Having the complete gene sequence of the human genome is similar to having pages to a manual to make the human body- the challenge is figuring out how to read and understand it,” (NIH, 2013). So even though the project is complete there is still work going on to interpret findings from it, and that analogy perfectly sums it all up.

REFERENCE-  Anon. (2013). NIH Fact Sheets- Human Genome Project. Available: http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=45&key=H#H. Last accessed Saturday 23rd November.

Next, I will be researching the Human genome itself and how it works in order to get the ‘genetic angle’ to things. I’ve checked out some books from the library so I’ll start reading those, fun times ahead! (Note to self: Starting using other sources i.e. books & journals. Also, use Google less and use other search engines like Medline, Pubmed or Web of Knowledge!)

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