Jaimie Hlavac, Sarah Magliaro, Melissa Klemp
ANT 101—Introduction to Physical Anthropology
Gerald Bacon, Instructor
Assignment: What is the Human Genome Project?
The Human Genome Project
Molecular scientists around the world are studying pieces of DNA in order to find the whole human genome—the entire genetic makeup of an individual or species. These scientists are using genetic sequencing, which looks at each nucleotide. They are also using genetic mapping to find mutations or diseases and the specific gene associated with them.
This research is important; it may help people prevent passing disease or mutations to their offspring. A good example of one such disease is hemophilia. Hemophilia is a hereditary x-linked recessive or a sex-linked genetic disease that causes a lowered plasmaclotting factor, lessening a person’s ability to control bleeding. This can cause death at an early age from losing too much blood. The gene that makes the clotting factor is found on the X chromosome, so women with one mutated chromosome will be carriers and males with a mutated chromosome will have the disease; their Y chromosomes can’t produce the clotting factor. A woman will only get the disease if both X chromosomes are mutated. By testing both parents, scientists can see what the chances are for their offspring to get the disease. As research advances, more diseases can be genetically identified.
In the past decade, considerable interest has been generated in genomics, but, currently, there is very little policy regarding the use and application of genetic information. Legal issues regarding the human genome project and genetic mapping became part of the national agenda only recently, yet it is a hot-button issue for many Americans. Protection of one’s genetic privacy has become a pertinent concern for citizens, and we can expect a myriad of technological and legal developments regarding this in the immediate future.