Does The Human Genome Project Give An Answer To Cancer Disease?

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Prolific scientific community started the Human genome project in 1990 and was completed in 2003. This is designed to sequence the complete human genome. In addition they sequenced the genomes of study model organisms like mouse and the fruit fly.

It was designed to create a human genetic blueprint so that it would look to determine the DNA sequences of various tumour samples for identifying the mutations which lead to the cancer.

Most of the researchers believed that it can create a database of all mutations that provide clues for creating new methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing cancer.

Estimated cost of the human genome project was $3 billion and only $300 million used for the DNA sequencing whereas the remaining amount was spent for the development of technology for sequencing.

We believe mutations may develop Cancers in which most of them are inherited. Some other mutations are also identified in chronic myelogenous leukaemia, lung cancer, and colon cancer.

Comparing these mutations with the entire genetic map of the humans may give a better solution to the cancer’s genetic weakness. But it was not as expected from the outcomes. In 2005 The cancer genome Atlas (TCGA) was launched to map hundreds of human genomes from patients with cancer.

Here in the Human genome project, a single human genome is sequenced whereas in TCGA thousands of complete genomes are sequenced.

The Biggest setback was, sequencing rapid and continuous mutations was a difficult task that was happening in the cancer cells. As the mutations in tumour cells can happen in a fast manner. Two cells in a tumour can have different mutations. Some mutations are missed based on the cells used in genetic analysis.

In some cases, mutations are developed by the epigenetic changes, which are caused by the influence of environmental factors. These are not studied by the human genome project and TCGA. even the technology for epigenetic analysis was not developed at that time.

In conclusion, the Human genome project does not confirm the theory of mutations on DNA leading to cancer but it can emphasise how the specific mutations can cause cancer and identify specific genes in different cancers.