Human Genome Project.
of 1990, the National Institutes of Health officially
began the Human Genome Project, a massive international
collaborative effort to locate the 50,000 to 100,000 genes and sequence the
estimated 3 billion nucleotides making up the entire human genome. By determining the complete
genetic sequence, scientists hope to begin correlating
human traits with certain genes. With this information,
medical researchers have begun to determine the
intricacies of human gene function, including the source
of genetic disorders and diseases that have plagued
medical researchers for years. So far, the genes
responsible for the occurrence of Huntington's disease,
cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy have been
determined based upon the work of the Human Genome
Project. Scientists are currently trying to use this
information to produce drugs to cure these conditions.
In planning the project, research was divided among various American universities. The $3 billion project was scheduled for completion in 2005, but there are doubts as to if this deadline will be made.
In January of 1998, biotechnology firm Perkin-Elmer Corp. announced that it was teaming up with gene sequencing expert J. Craig Venture to privately map the human genome. Perkin-Elmer plans to use brand new gene sequencing technology to completely map all human DNA by the year 2001 for only an estimated cost of $150-200 million dollars.