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Human Genome Project

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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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. -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. 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. 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. 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…
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. 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. 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…

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