All of us have 23 pairs of chromosomes and on those chromosomes, there are approximately 20,000-25,000 genes that provide the instructions for how our bodies look, and function in the world. The chromosomes that contain the genes and DNA form a double helix that looks like a twisted ladder where the rungs are represented by 3 billion base pairs of 4 amino acids called nucleotides. These chromosomes crammed into the nucleus of every cell in our body contains a molecular blueprint that gives us our ability to either thrive or feel challenged by various health stressors that all of us experience. If you could unwind the chromosomes and stretch it out straight the nuclear DNA of just one cell would be six feet in length!
The Human Genome Project was tasked with the job of sequencing those approximately 25,000 genes (a section of a chromosome) and the approximately 3 billion base pairs of in the human DNA (the rungs of the ladder). It took 12 years and approximately 4 billion dollars and it was completed in 2003. The science that sprung from this is called Genomics and it is dedicated to understanding illness from an individual patient perspective. Using Genomics, doctors, and scientists are taking the information from mapping an individual’s DNA to see if they have a genetic susceptibility to a disease such as diabetes, or depression, or finding out if someone may or may not respond to a specific medication such as a chemotherapy drug. click the title to read more