The sequencing of the human Genome is possibly the most important biological scientific project ever undertaken.
It provides knowledge and understanding of the most fundamental building blocks of human physical construction and is the gateway to enabling giant leaps forward in biotechnology.
It helps me to think of the Genome as like the schematics of a building, it’s the blueprint of an individual person.
A human has roughly 25,000 individual ‘genes’ that make up their DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid ) which is found in the nucleus of all cells as the genetic coding of that individual.
Increasing the knowledge of the effects of variations of DNA will revolutionise the ways to diagnose, treat and even prevent a significant number of existing diseases and illnesses.
As the library of Genome mapping increases so will the scientific ability to identify common causality of genetic malfunctions.
The Genome mapping project was officially launched in 1984 and was declared complete in 2003 (it took 19 years to map the first Genome).
To put into context what was required, there are roughly 3.3 billion possible genetic combinations to be mapped and if the Genome of a single human was to be written in a book it would be 100’s of millions of pages long (effectively the same as a library in and of itself).
By 2009 an individual could have their Genome mapped by a Commercial Company, the cost was about $100,000 and it would take many weeks to complete.
Today it is possible to have a Genome mapped for $100 and completed within a single day.
This incredible advancement has fundamentally been made possible by the exponential increase in computing power.
This is the virtuous circle of technological advancement allowing scientists to unlock knowledge which is expanded upon rapidly as technology advances further etc etc
In short its why discovery and invention is speeding up (and will continue to do so).
The unlocking of the Genome gives biochemists total access to our construction, there is ever less restriction on how genes can be redesigned.
We can now fundamentally reengineer nature and this will allow the creation of therapies and cures for many diseases currently untreatable, for those companies that find solutions huge financial rewards await.
It is hoped that the words of Uncle Ben are heeded:
“With great power comes great responsibility”
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