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The Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project

  • This is thousands of scientists collaborating to find every single human gene. Human DNA is made up of about 25,000 genes curled up to form 23 chromosomes.
  • If the scientists work together, they can share resources and reduce costs. The collaboration also means the genes can be found more quickly and the data more public.

Advantages

  • If doctors knew what genes predisposed people to what diseases, we get individually tailored treatment to avoid our likely problems. We could be checked regularly and be given early treatment to the disease we are susceptible to. Cures may even be found for genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anaemia.
  • Perhaps medicines will be invented specifically designed to help the individual. This means they will be designed on the way our body reacts to the disease. Generally, how a disease affects us on a molecular level makes it possible to design more effective treatments.
  • Diagnoses may become more accurate as we know the genetic cause for it.
  • In forensic science, it may be possible to work out what a suspect looks like from their DNA (e.g. their eye, hair and skin colour).

Disadvantages

  • Many may become paranoid if they knew they were susceptible to a life-threatening disease early on as they could panic every time they have a small ailment.
  • People with genetic problems could come under pressure not to have children.
  • Employers and insurers may discriminate against people with likelihood of serious diseases; insurers may not allow these people to buy life insurance/make it very expensive and employers may not employ people who may get a disease and die later on.