Benefits of Human Genome ProjectWritten by Wong Hon Long
Rapid progress in genome science and a glimpse into its potential applications have spurred observers to predict that biology will be foremost science of 21st century. Technology and resources generated by Human Genome Project and other genomics research are already having a major impact on research across life sciences. The potential for commercial development of genomics research presents U.S. industry with a wealth of opportunities, and sales of DNA-based products and technologies in biotechnology industry are projected to exceed $45 billion by 2009 (Consulting Resources Corporation Newsletter, Spring 1999).
Some current and potential applications of genome research include molecular medicine, microbial genomics, risk assessment, bioarchaeology, anthropology, evolution, human migration, DNA forensics (identification), agriculture, livestock breeding, and bioprocessing.
Technology and resources promoted by Human Genome Project have profound impacts on biomedical research especially in clinical medicine. Increasingly detailed genome maps have aided researchers seeking genes associated with dozens of genetic conditions, including myotonic dystrophy, fragile X syndrome, neurofibromatosis types 1 and 2, inherited colon cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and familial breast cancer. This will provoke a new era of molecular medicine characterized less by treating symptoms and more by looking to most fundamental causes of disease. Rapid and more specific diagnostic tests will make possible earlier treatment of countless maladies. Medical researchers also will be able to devise novel therapeutic regimens based on new classes of drugs, immunotherapy techniques, avoidance of environmental conditions that may trigger disease, and possible augmentation or even replacement of defective genes through gene therapy. Besides, research on human evolution become easier and clearer when a full and detailed genome map have been created.
DNA Profiling: Its Uses in CourtWritten by Tom LeBaron
Stronger evidence in courtrooms—it’s what every attorney, defendant, and plaintiff dreams of. Beginning in last 1980s, this is exactly what began to surface through DNA profiling.
In addition to one-of-a-kind pattern engraved on our fingers, each of us possesses a unique identifier that is built within our bodies. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is genetic blueprint that determines our biological characteristics. DNA is a long molecule located in almost every cell in human body. When we are conceived, we inherit half of our DNA from our mother and half from our father. Although every human’s DNA is 99.9% identical, remaining 0.1% is enough to uniquely identify an individual. Our DNA is made up of about 3 billion base pairs, building blocks of DNA composed mainly of carbon and sugar. The 0.1% (3 million) base pairs that make us unique are what constitute our DNA fingerprint.
Over past 20 years, courts have been able to rely upon consistent accuracy of DNA profiling, also known as DNA fingerprinting, to solve crimes. DNA profiling has even been used to solve crimes that are more than 30 years old.
Here’s how DNA profiling is done:Specimens are collected from crime scene. Anything can be used to extract DNA: Hair, blood, bodily fluids, etc. In some cases, victims may have scratched their attackers, in which case skin cells can be extracted from underneath victim’s fingernails in order to identify criminal