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WE'VE CRACKED THE CODE OF LIFE: BIGGER THAN THE WHEEL; Scientists salute 'most important advance ever'.



THE "book of life" breakthrough dwarfs even the invention of the wheel, a top scientist said yesterday.

It is a genetic map of the DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
DNA
 or deoxyribonucleic acid

One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes.
 that makes us what we are, governs our biological functions and determines our susceptibility to illnesses.

Dr Michael Dexter, of the Wellcome Trust The Wellcome Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity established in 1936 to administer the fortune of the American-born pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome. Its income was derived from what was originally called Burroughs Wellcome & Co, later renamed in the UK as the  - which gave pounds 210million to the international project that began in 1990 - said: "This is the outstanding achievement, not only of our lifetime, but in terms of human history.

"A few months ago I compared the project to the invention of the wheel.

"On reflection, it is more than that. I can well imagine technology making the wheel obsolete.

"But this code is the essence of mankind, and as long as humans exist, this code is going to be important and will be used."

The aim was to decode the three billion molecular "letters" that form human DNA and provide all the instructions for making a person.

Now the Human Genome The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is composed of 24 distinct pairs of chromosomes (22 autosomal + X + Y) with a total of approximately 3 billion DNA base pairs containing an estimated 20,000–25,000 genes.  Project has mapped 97 per cent of DNA and accurately sequenced 85 per cent.

This has been turned into a first "rough" draft of the entire text of DNA.

Filling in the gaps to produce the "gold standard" finished article will take another two to three years. In future, the data may make it possible to BANISH inherited disorders, SCREEN for vulnerability to diseases, TAILOR treatment to genetic make-up, CREATE thousands of new drugs, REPAIR faulty genes and EXTEND lifespan.

Our grandchildren could in effect be barcoded at birth to provide doctors with an invaluable database.

The research turned into a race between the publicly-funded pounds 2billion Human Genome Project - involving the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan and China - and American gene entrepreneur Dr Craig Venter The introduction of this article is too short.
To comply with Wikipedia's lead section guidelines, it should be expanded.
. He aimed to patent genes and sell the information to pharmaceutical firms.

There was bitter rivalry until White House pressure led to a recent decision to co-operate.

The Sanger Centre Sanger centre is a genomics research centre established by UK government. It is one of the first and largest genomics center in the world. Its name is after Frederick Sanger who has received two Nobel prizes for his work on protein and DNA sequencing.  in Cambridge sequenced one-third of the map, whose total information would fill 200, 500-page telephone directories.

Sanger director Dr John Sulston said: "Over centuries, this will inform all of medicine, all of biology, and will lead us to a total understanding of not only human beings, but all of life." Biggest player was the Whitehead Institute Founded in 1982, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research is a non-profit research and teaching institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Whitehead Institute was founded as a fiscally independent entity from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and its members  for Biomedical Research Biomedical research (or experimental medicine), in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research or applied research conducted to aid the body of knowledge in the field of medicine.  at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at Cambridge; coeducational; chartered 1861, opened 1865 in Boston, moved 1916. It has long been recognized as an outstanding technological institute and its Sloan School of Management has notable programs in business, .

The breakthrough was announced simultaneously in the UK and US yesterday. Tony Blair and President Clinton spoke via a satellite link.

Mr Blair said: "Every so often in the history of human endeavour, there comes a breakthrough that takes mankind into a new era.

"I am proud that Britain has played with others a pioneering role."

Mr Clinton said: "This is the most important, the most wondrous map ever produced by mankind."

The birth year of Leo Leo, in astronomy
Leo [Lat.,=the lion], northern constellation lying S of Ursa Major and on the ecliptic (apparent path of the sun through the heavens) between Cancer and Virgo; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac.
 Blair would be remembered as the year of the breakthrough. His life expectancy Life Expectancy

1. The age until which a person is expected to live.

2. The remaining number of years an individual is expected to live, based on IRS issued life expectancy tables.
 had "gone up by about 25 years".

Richard Dawkins, professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, said: "Along with Bach's music, Shakespeare's sonnets and the Apollo space programme, the Human Genome Project is one of those achievements of the human spirit that makes me proud to be human."

MPs and others warned of a threat to privacy and the danger of creating a genetic under-class.

Author Dr Tom Shakespeare said: "Will employers, insurers, or the state use this knowledge to discriminate against people unfairly?"
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Author:Palmer, Jill; Rock, Lucy
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 27, 2000
Words:556
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