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Human Genome Project

Analysis and Comment (24)

Proteins hold keys to making more effective medicine. Proteins hold keys to making more effective medicine. Jeff Fillmore, Flickr

Looking at proteins to make new medicines and better wine

The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, mapping out all of the genes of the human genome. When the first draft of results were published many were surprised that we had only 24,000 genes. This…
Genome sequencing has the potential to improve the diagnosis of conditions caused by changes in the DNA. Genome sequencing has the potential to improve the diagnosis of conditions caused by changes in the DNA. Image from shutterstock.com

Treating illness and preventing disease with genetic testing

Rapid technological advances mean it’s faster and cheaper than ever to read a person’s entire genetic code, known as the genome. Genomic sequencing has two potential applications in health: the care of…
Allowing patents that capture categories of unique genomic DNA damages the principle of open access. Allowing patents that capture categories of unique genomic DNA damages the principle of open access. Nestlé/Flickr

Ensure open access to genetic data to protect innovation

Public investment in the Human Genome Project was expected to deliver a global public good that would help generate scientific breakthroughs. But open access to our genetic blueprint is a precondition…
Can our knowledge of genetics allow us to one day breed happier animals? Can our knowledge of genetics allow us to one day breed happier animals? Reema Rattan

Genomics in the future: a glimpse at the Future Farm

A leading molecular biologist and her children are visiting Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, but it’s 2053 now and things are slightly different. “Will there be chickens at the Easter Show?” asks Emily, the…
Pharmacogenomics is the study of variations in our genome that alter our response to drugs. Pharmacogenomics is the study of variations in our genome that alter our response to drugs. Andy Melton

Pharmacogenomics explains why some medicines may not work for you

Pharmacogenomics is the study of drugs (pharmakon- the Greek word for poison or drug) and the genome. These two come together to explain why about 50% of medicines don’t work in some people and why they…
The epigenome is changed by what we eat and drink, smoking, stress, pollution, sun exposure and other environmental factors. The epigenome is changed by what we eat and drink, smoking, stress, pollution, sun exposure and other environmental factors. Ateh42/Flickr

Meet the epigenome: the next genomic frontier

Thanks to the Human Genome Project we now have a complete genomic map. But, simply having a map doesn’t give you all the information. For a map to be useful, you still need know where to go, the best way…
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria. The individual bacterium are rectangular and brown. Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria. The individual bacterium are rectangular and brown. Microbe World/Flickr

Bacterial genomics offers new approaches to better health

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms abundant in nature that can’t be seen with the naked eye. In fact, there are approximately five multiplied by 10³¹ bacteria on the earth, constituting 90% of its…
Variomics sifts through the complex interplay of 20,000 genes, their variants, environmental influences and epigenetic factors. Variomics sifts through the complex interplay of 20,000 genes, their variants, environmental influences and epigenetic factors. -sel/Flickr

Variomics seeks to understand what makes us unique

Announcing the completion of the first draft of the human genome in 2000, then-US president Bill Clinton spelt out what this monumental achievement would mean for humankind, “With this profound new knowledge…
Close-up of a sculptural representation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the basic building block of nearly all organisms. Close-up of a sculptural representation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the basic building block of nearly all organisms. ἀλέξ/Flickr

An insider’s account of the Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project (HGP) – to put it simply – has changed science. It has contributed to making biology the science of the 21st century, as physics was the science of the 20th century. It has driven…
More than 99.5% of the genome is identical between two humans, but that still leaves 15m positions to search through. More than 99.5% of the genome is identical between two humans, but that still leaves 15m positions to search through. fdecomite

Personal genomics: where science fiction meets reality

Imagine a future where doctors take a strand of your hair or a drop of your blood and tell you your DNA predicts a 78% risk of developing heart disease. On the plus side, it also predicts exactly which…
The stories behind the Human Genome Project are themselves extraordinarily human. The stories behind the Human Genome Project are themselves extraordinarily human. widdowquinn

Explainer: what is the Human Genome Project?

For many decades humans have pursued work to characterise the human genome. Today, publicly available references to genome sequences are available and have been instrumental in effecting recent advances…
Genetic information should only be shared with full and informed consent. Genetic information should only be shared with full and informed consent. Jack Fussell

Sharing isn’t always caring: genetic privacy must come first

Yesterday on The Conversation, Timothy Smith from the Florey Neurosciences Institute argued that in order to improve genetics research, we need free and open access to genetic information. But while the…
Technical, financial and legal barriers stop the sharing of vital information in medical research. Technical, financial and legal barriers stop the sharing of vital information in medical research. Frans de Waal/ Wikimedia Commons

Sharing is caring: we need open access to genetic information

A paper published today in Science Translational Medicine calls for the open sharing of clinical trial data among the medical research community. Researchers argue data sharing would lead to faster, more…
Researchers have found that rare mutations in XRCC2 increase the risk of breast cancer. Researchers have found that rare mutations in XRCC2 increase the risk of breast cancer. Robert S Donovan

Revealed: another piece of the breast cancer gene puzzle

You’ve probably heard of BRCA1 and BRCA2 – the genes that, when mutated, markedly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. We’ve also known for a while that a handful of other genes also increase…
These genes exert their influence through the immune system. These genes exert their influence through the immune system. Flickr/Natashacld

Revealed: 57 pieces of the MS puzzle

In one of the largest human genetic studies ever undertaken, scientists have identified the major common genetic variants that contribute to the cause of the devastating neurological disease, multiple…
Understanding DNA is vital to developing our knowledge of complex diseases. Understanding DNA is vital to developing our knowledge of complex diseases. DNA Art Online

Want to assemble the human genome on your desktop? Now you can …

Imagine taking a thousand copies of a phone book, shredding them all together, then trying to use the overlapping pieces to reconstruct a copy. This is a simple problem compared to assembling the human…
Stem cells have successfully been transplanted to restore sight. Stem cells have successfully been transplanted to restore sight. BWJones

It’s a vision thing: the case for a far-sighted approach to stem cell research

In 2002, the Australian federal Parliament passed two Acts to regulate human embryo and stem cell research. The Prohibition of Human Cloning Act banned practices that people seemed to be most worried about…
Hard laws and regulations are needed to protect our genetic information. Hard laws and regulations are needed to protect our genetic information. California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

We’ve cracked the genetic code, now what?

The rapid development of genetic science and technology holds hope for greatly improved health outcomes, with better diagnostics, treatments and cures, as well as the beginning of pharmacogenomics and…
Genetic change in humans is driven by cultural change, for example, blue eyes. Genetic change in humans is driven by cultural change, for example, blue eyes. Corey Butler

Determined to be different: what we do changes the wiring of our genes

The human genome provides penetrating and unexpected insights into human individual and collective history. Among them is the counterintuitive idea that genes are at the mercy of experience – that what…
Mapping genetic diseases will reduce the unknown risks in family planning. Mapping genetic diseases will reduce the unknown risks in family planning. flickr/Mrs Flinger

The benefits of mapping genetic disease in the Human Variome Project

Thanks to the genetic revolution and the internet, we can now see a way to map genetic diseases and reduce the burden of inherited conditions. Each year more than 3 million children born with a serious…
Try as you might, there’s no proof you can control your genetic expression. Try as you might, there’s no proof you can control your genetic expression. mutsmuts/Flickr

Think you can think yourself better? Think again

Can the way we think influence the way we feel? Most of us would say yes. But can thinking affect the way our bodies behave on a genetic level? Can we, in essence, think ourselves better? A growing band…
Analysing the genome has revealed a great deal about common diseases. Analysing the genome has revealed a great deal about common diseases. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Genome sceptics, you’re wrong: just look at MS

A few days ago, Jonathan Latham of The Guardian newspaper decried the failure of modern genetics to make inroads on common diseases. I think he got things very wrong. Latham claimed that: Despite more…

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