A Milestone in Human History

Human Genome Project Nears Completion--Vast Implications for Medical and Biological Sciences

J. Sedmihradsky BSc, MA

Genetic technology has been in the news regularly in recent years, thanks to the enormous advances that have been made in the technological world. The genes linked to diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, asthma and various cancers have been identified and in some cases, patented. By identifying the genes associated with different diseases, researchers may be able to learn more about disease mechanisms and discover new therapies or possible cures.

The Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international research project aimed at establishing an accurate map of all the genes in human DNA. Anticipated outcomes of the project include better understanding, treatment, cure and possible prevention of over four thousand genetic diseases. Advances in forestry, biotechnology and agriculture are also expected,1 as researchers have studied the genetic makeup of several non-human organisms for purposes of furthering the mapping of human DNA. Project planning began in the mid-1980s but most of the research has taken place since the implementation of the HGP in 1990. The project was initially estimated to span a period of 15 years, from 1990 to 2005,2 but the expected completion date was recently moved forward to 2003.