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Genome projects aim to determine the entire base sequence of an organism’s total DNA content. Significant technological advances have allowed scientists to map and sequence the genes of organisms and identify where they are located on the individual chromosomes.
Bioinformatics has been another key player in allowing the organic data collected from scientists worldwide to be read, stored, and organised at a faster rate than before.
Bioinformatics is the science of gathering and analysing large amounts of complex biological data, such as genetic codes.
A genome project involves collecting and sequencing many DNA samples from various donors of the same species. The DNA sequences obtained create a reference genome. Genome sequencing has tremendously helped the scientific community to understand different genes’ functions and interactions in different organisms. Whole-genome projects are usually created by the whole genome shotgun (WGS) approach. This approach involves sequencing multiple overlapping DNA fragments separately and then virtually assembling the small fragments into chromosomes using computer algorithms that identify the fragment sequences.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project aimed at sequencing the whole human DNA and identifying the location and function of all the genes in the human genome. The HGP was and still is the largest collaborative biological project globally. It was initiated on October 1, 1990, and was declared complete on April 14, 2003.
The double helix structure of the DNA was discovered in 1953, the HGP was completed in 2003, and CRISPR/Cas9 (an efficient method for editing the DNA in cells) was discovered in 2012. In less than 60 years, we went from not knowing much about DNA to sequencing and mapping all the genes within the human genome and knowing how to edit the genes within the cells! What do you think scientists will be able to do in the future?
DNA sequencing methods are constantly evolving and becoming more straightforward, but their principle is based on Sanger sequencing, an automated method invented by Fredrick Sanger in 1977.
Fredrick Sanger received his second Nobel Prize in chemistry for inventing the Sanger DNA sequencing method!
The Sanger DNA sequencing process can be broken down into three steps:
You can learn more about PCR in our Polymerase Chain Reaction article.
A proteome is the total amount of proteins expressed by an organism or a cell at a given time and under specific conditions.
The field that studies proteins and the proteome of different organisms is called Proteomics. Proteins can be detected and sequenced with different techniques. However, protein composition changes depending on the specific conditions of the cell or organism, so it’s much more variable than the genome for a particular species.
It is relatively straightforward to determine the genome and proteome of basic organisms such as prokaryotes because:
The proteome of prokaryotes has many medical and non-medical applications.
Identifying antigenic proteins on the surface of harmful bacteria can be exploited to develop vaccines against illnesses caused by certain microbes. Once the sequence of these antigens is known, they may be mass-produced and supplied to humans in the form of a vaccine. The immune system would then respond to the antigen by producing antibodies and memory cells against it. When confronted with a microbe that possesses the same antigen, memory cells would then be able to develop a secondary immune response to protect the host against infection.
The proteome of simple organisms provides information on the biochemistry of the processes within them. Some of these microorganisms are employed in the production of biofuels. Moreover, organisms that can resist harsh and toxic environments can remove toxins from the environment.
The genome of complex organisms such as humans and plants is challenging to sequence due to the larger number of genes that are present in the eukaryotic DNA compared to prokaryotic DNA. But this challenging process has been overcome thanks to the recent advances in the technologies used for DNA sequencing resulting in the successful HGP in 2003 and various plant genome projects.
The major difficulty in studying complex organisms is determining the proteome. This difficulty is due to significant amounts of non-coding DNA in eukaryotic DNA. In humans, for example, it is estimated that 98.5% of the genome is non-coding and does not contribute to the proteome.
Another issue is determining which genome should be utilised for sequencing because all individuals, except for identical twins, have separate genomes.
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) provides critical information for identifying congenital disorders caused by mutations, oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes affected by mutations that leads to cancer, tracking disease outbreaks and many more.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project aimed at defining the base pairs sequences within the human DNA, as well as identifying and mapping all of the human genome's genes with respect to their position as well as their function.
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) provides critical information for identifying congenital disorders caused by mutations, oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes affected by mutations that leads to cancer, tracking disease outbreaks and many more. Sequencing of the genome of pathogenic organisms such as viruses and prokaryotes can provide valuable information for manufacturing vaccines against those pathogens.
The genome project is important because it uses information from DNA to develop novel treatments and cures. It also helps to identify the various genetic mutations that cause congenital disorders and cancers and hence can be used to find a cure for them. The human genome project (HGP) provides invaluable information about the genes within the human cells that are accessible to researchers around the world free of charge.
Genome projects are scientific initiatives whose ultimate goal is to uncover the entire genome sequence of an organism and to identify protein-coding genes and other essential genome-encoded properties.
Two techniques were used in human genome project:
What is a genome?
The complete set of genetic material in an organism.
What is proteome?
The complete set of proteins an organism/cell can make at given conditions.
What is HPG?
HPG is the human genome project and involved sequencing the whole human genome.
What is genome sequencing?
Identifying the DNA base sequence of an organism genome. It allows determining the amino acid sequence of the polypeptides encoded by that DNA.
How is PCR used in genome sequencing?
Automated DNA sequencing methods require large quantities of DNA. PCR allows amplifying the DNA samples taken from the organism.
What is dideoxyribonucleotide?
Dideoxyribonucleotide is a special type of nucleotide that differs from normal deoxyribonucleotides in that it contains an additional hydrogen instead of a hydroxyl group on carbon number.
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