Saturday, September 21, 2013

Health and Science Perception: Sequencing of the Human Genome

You must have heard about the latest discovery of the scientists, their new super power read and to sequence the Human Genome. But what does it mean exactly?
First of all, you should know what a human Genome is. A human Genome simply means the traits or the qualities that you have inherited from both you parents through genes. Now you may wonder what are genes. Although they pronounce just like your old pair of jeans, it has a hell of a different meaning. Genes are actually parts of DNA which are stuck on a chromosome. This DNA is found inside the nucleus of the cells, while some of it can also be found in energy producing cellular components called the mitochondria.
Different species have different numbers of chromosomes, for example humans have 23 pairs, half of the set coming from your mother and the other half from your father. Strawberries have 7 while that of the female honey bee is 16 pairs and that pet goldfish of yours definitely has a different number.
In humans these 23 sets are further divided into 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of allosome, that is sex chromosome. Males have X and Y as the allsome, and females have X and X, while this again could be entirely different for different species.
Further more each DNA consists of small units called nucleotides.
So what basically scientists do when sequencing is that they chop have pieces of the DNA, take out the gene and the coded information, process it to uncode the information and voila the Human Genome has been sequenced!
Scientists usually sequence one of your autosome chromosome, the one that is similar to both males and females, and one allosome which is different for both sexes. Obviously it is much more complicated than it sounds.
Much of the information is useless or has not been uncoded as yet, while the rest of the decoded information can be used to treat all kinds of diseases.

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