A genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic information. A genome includes all of the hereditary instructions for creating and maintaining life, as well as instructions for reproduction. The human genome, like all other cellular life forms, consists of DNA and includes both the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. This is in contrast to ribonucleuic acid (RNA) viruses, whose genome is comprised of RNA.
In 1990, an international research effort known as the Human Genome Project was undertaken to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes it contains. The Project also sequenced the genomes of several additional organisms important to medical research, including the mouse and the fruit fly.
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international, collaborative research effort to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes that it contains. The HGP formally began in 1990 and was completed in 2003. The initial goals of the HGP were to develop technology to increase efficiency and lower the cost of DNA sequencing, analyze the structure of human DNA and provide a complete and accurate sequence of the 3 billion DNA base pairs that make up the human genome. At the start of the HGP, 50,000 to 140,000 genes were estimated to make up the human genome. It is now known that the human genome contains roughly 3 billion base pairs and 20,500 genes. The full human sequence was published in 2003 (10) (with the exception of 1% due to limitations in current technology). The HGP has contributed to the identification of more than 1,800 disease genes. For more information on genomic research, see the section "Ongoing Genomic Research and Big Data in Precision Medicine."
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