National Institutes of Health
Fifty Years Ago • Just a half-century ago very little was known about the genetic factors that contribute to human disease. • In 1953, James Watsonand Francis Crick described the double helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the chemical compound that contains the genetic instructions for building, running and maintaining livingorganisms. • Methods to determine the order, or sequence, of the chemical letters in DNA were developed in the mid1970s. • In 1990, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy joinedwith international partners in a quest to sequence all 3 billion letters, or base pairs, in the human genome, which is the complete set of DNA in the human body. This concerted, public effort was theHuman Genome Project. • The Human Genome Project’s goal was to provide researchers with powerful tools to understand the genetic factors in human disease, paving the way for new strategies for theirdiagnosis, treatment and prevention. • From the start, the Human Genome Project supported an Ethical, Legal and Social Implications research program to address the many complex issues that mightarise from this science. • All data generated by the Human Genome Project were made freely and rapidly available on the Internet, serving to accelerate the pace of medical discovery around the globe. •The Human Genome project spurred a revolution in biotechnology innovation around the world and played a key role in making the U.S. the global leader in the new biotechnology sector.
NationalInstitutes of Health
Human Genome Project
• In April 2003, researchers successfully completed the Human Genome Project, under budget and more than two years ahead of schedule. Today • The HumanGenome Project has already fueled the discovery of more than 1,800 disease genes. • As a result of the Human Genome Project, today’s researchers can find a gene suspected of causing an inherited...
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