Our Better Understanding of Disease Has Vindicated the Human Genome Project
Now we’re starting to see how genome research is fulfilling the promise of why we pursued the Human Genome Project in the first place.
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.
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Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.
- The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
- Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
- Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.
- Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
- Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
- It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.
- Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
- The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
- The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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