The Human Genome Project, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, was the international, collaborative research program formed to complete the mapping and understanding of all the genes of human beings. All our genes together is called a genome.
The hereditary material is the double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which contains all human genes. DNA is made up of four chemical bases, pairs forming the rungs of the twisted, ladder-shaped DNA molecules. All genes are made up of these four bases, arranged different ways and different lengths.
During the Human Genome Project, researchers deciphered the human genome three ways:
- Determining the order of all the bases of our genome's DNA.
- Making maps showing the locations of genes for major sections of all our chromosomes.
- Producing linkage maps to track inherited traits (such as those for genetic disease) through the generations.
The Human Genome Project revealed there are probably 25,000 human genes. The completed human sequence can identify their locations.
The result of the HGP has given the world a resource of detailed information about the structure, organization and function of the complete set of human genes. This information can be thought of as the basic set of inheritable instructions for the development and function of a human being.