The completion of the human genome project was only the beginning in gaining insights on how the instructions contained in the DNA are essential to human life. Researchers are set to obtain more useful knowledge about the DNA sequence. The research studies do not end, therefore. In some countries around the world, genomic research continues.
Among other things, the scientists are determined to identify the functions of genes and the factors that coordinate such genes within the genome, discover the 3D structures of proteins and ascertain their roles, and develop and employ DNA-based strategies in order to detect, diagnose and treat disease at an earlier point. Now that the human genome is available, researchers are exploring the patterns by which the proteins and DNA interact with each other and with the environment, thereby, producing complex living systems.
The genomic research also seeks to complete the sequencing of other organisms including rat, chimpanzee and cow to have broader and more accurate comparison of genes between these species. Researchers are not too hard to admit that they still have a long way to go before diseases can be understood and treated with perfection. Thus, they continue to develop new technologies to better study the genes and DNA on a larger scale, and of course, keep the genomic information with efficiency.
Among the causes of diseases today are the genetic variations. Hence, genomic research gears towards finding differences in the DNA sequence in people and learn their significance. This includes particularly the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism or SNP, which is the most common genetic variation. According to researchers involved in genomic studies, even the small variations are instrumental in predicting an individual’s risk to certain diseases and his or her reactions to specific medications.
Every Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a representation of a variation in a single building block of the DNA known as the nucleotide. As an example, a SNP may be a replacement of the nucleotide cytosine or C with a nucleotide thymine or T in a particular strand of DNA.
These SNPs are a natural phenomenon within an individual’s DNA. On average, they are present in every 300 nucleotides. This indicates that in the human genome are 10 million SNPs, and they are generally located in the DNA between genes. SNPs are significant such as that they can serve as biological markers to help scientists find the genes that are responsible for developing a disease. Thus, if the SNPs are present within a gene or in a region close to a gene, they may have a direct impact on diseases by interfering with the function of that gene.
Not all genetic variations are harmful. In fact, some of them are helpful in the study of human health. SNPs are useful in predicting a person’s vulnerability to environmental factors like the toxins, and his or her risks in developing a specific disease. More importantly, these SNPs are effective in tracking down the inheritance patterns of disease-carrying genes within families. Indeed, there is more to accomplish in genomic research.
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