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- The ARC - California Edition -

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The Human Genome

We have been hearing about this so-called Human Genome Project for quite a while. In terms of dollars, we know that over $300 million dollars have already been spent on the “public effort” and we know that this amount will become an ever increasing number.

Supporters of these efforts (guys like me) consider that it is money well spent and that these efforts will lead toward a quantum jump in the quality and accuracy of disease detection, to the development of numerous treatment schemes, and even develop some cures here or there. Perhaps a few of these future efforts (dollars) might accidentally be directed toward defining a primary prevention regimen.

At the beginning of this summer we found ourselves surrounded by a media blitz that was very similar to the level of coverage that was witnessed during the period when NASA was landing those astronauts onto the moon. When was that – about 40 years ago?

In our current case, numerous scientists and politicians, including the U.S. President, were each informing the world that the effort to decode the Human Genome had been completed. Of course, they also said that it will take another year or two to fill in the gaps and fix all the errors.

But the genetic map of the human being is essentially defined. Scientists from around the world have decoded about 90 percent of the 3.1 billion biochemical “letters” that make up the human DNA. Yet to be understood is how to interpret this long twisting series of instructions which supposedly will clarify our instructions to manufacture and operate a correctly functioning human being.

- Peter Leibert, editor


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