Posted by Manas Mittal on August 09, 19100 at 23:13:55:
Rough Map of Human Genome Completed
LONDON (AP) - Rival teams of scientists have completed the first rough map of the human genetic code. The publicly funded Human Genome Project and the private Celera Genomics Corporation had scheduled press conferences Monday to announce that they have completed the first draft of the "book of life."
The Human Genome Project called a press conference in London for 11 a.m. to declare that, after years of work, researchers have mapped the chemical sequences for 90 percent of human DNA. A second, joint announcement was to follow later in Washington.
Decoding the 3 billion chemical "letters" in human DNA is seen as one of history's great scientific milestones, the biological equivalent of the moon landing.
Specific sequences of DNA characters form the genes that make us what we are, govern our biological functions and determine our susceptibility to illnesses.
Mapping them ushers in a new era of genetic-based medicine, enabling doctors to treat the underlying genetic causes of hundreds of human disorders, including heart disease and cancer. "The sequencing of the human genome is an amazing achievement for humankind," said Sir Paul Nurse, director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
"The information obtained from the genetic blueprint will have major implications for understanding disease processes -- especially cancer.''
Decoding the genome involves placing in correct order the 3.1 billion base pairs, or subunits that make up human DNA. Imbedded in this DNA are about 50,000 genes -- nobody knows the exact number.
Once the genes are identified, researchers then must identify the proteins made by those genes, determine the function of that protein in the body and then devise therapeutic drugs.
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