In Chapter 8, we learned that DNAholds the information on how to construct a living organism and make it work. This is achieved by instructing the cell how to make proteins characteristic for that organism, one cell at a time. So biologists became interested in determining the precise sequence of the nucleotides in the DNA.
At first, this was hard to do and took a great deal of time even for small segments. Simple strands ofDNAwere the first to be attempted, those of viruses and the plasmids of bacteria. In time, new techniques were invented and sequencing became faster. A big step was made with the invention of PCR, polymerase chain reaction, for making millions of copies of a strand of DNA. Still, sequencing the genome of an organism, its entire complement of DNA, was beyond reach, except possibly that of a virus. And so it was a wildly ambitious plan when, in 1990, the U.S. government launched the Human Genome Project (HGP). The project was to sequence the entire human genome of 3 billion base pairs to an accuracy of one error in 10,000 bases.1 The science of genomics was born, and with it, biology is forever changed.
KeywordsSpinal Muscular Atrophy Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Human Genome Project Average Mutation Rate PAM1 Matrix
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References and Suggested Further Reading
- P. Benfey and A. Protopapas, Genomics, Prentice–Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2004.Google Scholar
- D. T. Jones, W. R. Taylor, and J. M. Thornton, The rapid generation of mutation data matrices from protein sequences, Comput. Appl. Biosci., 8–3 (1992), 275282.Google Scholar
- I. Korf, M. Yandell, and J. Bedell, Blast, O'Reilly, Cambridge, UK, 2003.Google Scholar
- G. Smith, Genomics Age, AMACOM, New York, 2005.Google Scholar