Aspects of Basic Genetics and The Human Genome Project

Robert Murray, MD, PhD

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The webinar will cover some basic aspects of Genetics, and also describe the achievements of the Human Genome Project (HGP).The chemical nature of DNA and RNA will be briefly described. The function of most genes is to encode proteins, as described by the phrase DNA->RNA->Protein

Humans have both nuclear DNA and mitochondrial (mt) DNA. A genome is all the DNA (or RNA in certain viruses) of an organism.

The HGP set out to determine the sequence of all of the nuclear DNA of humans. This was accomplished over an approximately 13 year period (1990-2003). It showed that nuclear DNA is comprised of some 3.2 billion base pairs and contains approx. 25,000 genes. About 98% of our DNA does not encode proteins, but has other functions, such as regulating genetic activity. Among many contributions, the HGP has provided the basic information necessary for helping to establish the precise cause of all genetic disorders, and hopefully treat them. It has also led to the development of specialty areas, such as nutrigenomics, pharmacogenomics and glycomics. A few ethical, legal and social implications of the HGP will also be mentioned. Overall, the HGP has been one of the most significant scientific projects ever undertaken.

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Aspects of Basic Genetics and The Human Genome Project

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