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The human genome project was scientific project to identify both the
genes and the entire sequence of DNA base pairs that make up the human
genome. An international scientific effort to map all of the genes on
the 23 pairs of human chromosomes and, to sequence the 3.1 billion DNA
base pairs that make up the chromosomes. But with the mapping of the
human genome there will be some ethical and social aspects that will
be raised with the identification of the base pairs of the human
genome. To help and deal with the issues raised the National Human
Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) Ethical, Legal and Social
Implications (ELSI) Program was established in 1990 as an integral
part of the Human Genome Project (HGP) to foster basic and applied
research, and support education and outreach. Some of the issues that
will be raised with the identification of all the human genome are: -
o Who should have access to personal genetic information, and how will
it be used?
This may mean that certain people may be discriminated against from
their employers, teachers etc. because of results of a persons genome
(they may have a faulty gene)
o Who owns and controls genetic information?
This may mean that certain people may get hold of the information and
then use against people, e.g. to see if certain people have a certain
disease and then maybe discriminate against them
o How do we prepare the public to make informed choices?
If people are aware that they have a certain condition then, they will
have to make choices and changes to their lifestyle, which some people
may not be able to cope with. Also if parents discover that their new
born child has a faulty gene, they will then have to make decisions of
what they would have to do.
o How will the tests make people feel and react?
The results and the test may make people feel very anxious and very
nervous as they won't be sure of what the results will show, which may
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o Will the results be accurate?
The results from the project may give out false readings for certain
people which may mean that they will be discriminated against in their
job, life etc.
But, from the mapping of the human genome, it will also have benefits
to humans, and how much we know about ourselves. The project may help
identify certain diseases/conditions in patients and with this
detection they maybe able to treat it before the condition/disease
become chronic etc.
Also, from this, previously incurable diseases or conditions maybe
able to be cured as scientists could see the genetic make up of it and
then find change the genetic code of it, thus curing it.