by ChaNel L. Peoples
The Human Genome Project?
Introduced in October 1990, the U.S. Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The goals of the HGP initiative included:
- identify all the approximately 20-25,000 genes in human DNA
- store this information in databases
The Human Genome Project is considered as one of the greatest accomplishments of exploration in history.
A genome is the sum of the entire DNA in an organism, including its genes. Genes carry information for making the proteins required by all organisms. These proteins determine, among other things, how the organism looks, how well its body metabolizes food or fights infection, and sometimes even how it behaves.
Though the HGP is finished and the goals have been accomplished, researchers will analyze the data for many more years. Why do marketers care about the HGP? A critical aspect of the HGP project was the plan to transfer technology to the private sector. By licensing technologies to private companies and awarding grants for innovative research, the project catalyzed the multibillion-dollar U.S. biotechnology industry and fostered the development of new medical applications. These medical applications bring the most good to society, only when they are properly marketed.