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Our Better Understanding of Disease Has Vindicated the Human Genome Project

In the 1980s when the Human Genome Project was being conceived, one of the reasons why we were able to get support for it from the U.S. Congress while other countries were able to get support for it from their funding agencies was the recognition that having foundational information about our blueprint would give us the kinds of insights and eventually the kinds of information and technologies that would allow us to better understand the role of DNA or the role of our genome in human health and disease. 

We already knew back then that essentially every disease has at least a genetic influence if not an overt genetic cause.  And we wanted to understand how those DNA differences were important in different types of disease.  

It just made a lot of sense to get foundational reference information about our genome and use that as a starting point to going through and studying many different diseases and figuring out which DNA changes correlate with getting that particular disease.  Now we’re starting to see some of this come to fruition and it truly is fulfilling the promise of why we pursued the Human Genome Project in the first place.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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