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HUMAN GENOME PROJECT

Prepared by: LJ Silvestre

Genes and the HGP


Genes are often described as the biological blueprints or recipes for life and are found in the DNA, carrying the genetic information from one generation to the next. Many people are convinced that genes are special, that they contain a person's essence, which has enormous spiritual and commercial value. We are who we are because of our genes.

Genes and the HGP


The Human Genome Project is the process of sequencing/mapping of our genome. The sequence of our genome will ultimately allow us to discover the secrets of life's processes, the biochemical basis of our senses and our memory, our development and our aging, our similarities and individual differences.

Genes and the HGP


The genome project itself offers no promises of cancer cures or quick fixes for Alzheimer's disease, and no detailed understanding of genius or schizophrenia. But this is the start to possibly prolonging our lives and even creating synthetic life.

Ethical Concerns
Thanks to the sequencing of the genome, we are able figure out what sort of sicknesses we may have in the future. If this information were made public, there could be genetic discrimination. The question about employers knowing which kind of people not to hire based on the work conditions (but how about the welfare of the would-be employee?)

Ethical Concerns (raised in class)


HGP reveals the whole identity of the subject, thus no more privacy Creates uncertainty about the definition of what it is to be normal The safety of the mutants from the normal and vice versa Might pave a way for bio weapons and bio terrorism (Nemesis Ttype is no longer a fantasy)

Germ Line Gene Therapy


Gene therapy is an experimental technique used in treatment of malfunctioning genes, whereby a deficient or defective gene is replaced by a working gene, so that the body can make the proper enzyme or protein and as a result eliminate the origin of the disease. In germ line gene therapy, Germ cells, i.e., sperm or eggs are modified by the introduction of functional genes, which are integrated into their genomes. This would allow the therapy to be heritable and passed on to later generations. Although this should, in theory, be highly effective in counteracting genetic disorders and hereditary diseases Implies custom-made children.

Gene Therapy Procedure


The technology of gene therapy is based on the effective delivery of the corrective genes and to do this, scientists have developed gene delivery vehicles called vectors. These vectors encapsulate therapeutic genes for delivery into the target cells. Many of the vectors currently in use are based on attenuated or modified versions of viruses. Plasmids, which are circular pieces of DNA extracted from bacteria, are also used as vectors.

Ex Vivo
There are methods of inserting genes, such as addition of chemicals to allow the large DNA molecules in solution to pass through the cell membrane. This requires that the cells be removed from the body and treated in a laboratory, making it suitable for treatment of easily transplantable tissues such as blood and bone marrow. This type of gene therapy is referred to as ex vivo, as the cell to be implanted are harvested from the patient, modified and then replaced.

In Vivo
A technique that involves direct insertion of the vector into the patient is referred to as in vivo gene therapy. There are also other techniques, which include laser micropuncture of the cell membrane, electroporation and biolistics (using high velocity tungsten microprojectiles to insert DNA)

Some Ethical Concerns


To treat a pre-embryo that carries a serious genetic defect before implantation into the mother (this requires the use of in vitro fertilization techniques) To treat the germ cells (sperm or egg cells) of the afflicted adults so that their genetic defects would not be passed on to their offspring. This approach requires the technical expertise to remove the defective genes and insert a properly functioning replacement.

Stem Cell Research


Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types. Commonly, stem cells come from two main sources: Embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development (embryonic stem cells) and Adult tissue (adult stem cells)

Adult Stem Cells


Adult or somatic stem cells exist throughout the body after embryonic development and are found inside of different types of tissue. These stem cells have been found in tissues such as the brain, bone marrow, blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscles, skin, and the liver. They remain in a quiescent or non-dividing state for years until activated by disease or tissue injury.

Embryonic Stem Cells


Embryonic stem cells are derived from a four- or five-day-old human embryo that is in the blastocyst phase of development. The embryos are usually extras that have been created in IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics where several eggs are fertilized in a test tube, but only one is implanted into a woman. When extracting embryonic stem cells, the blastocyst stage signals when to isolate stem cells by placing the "inner cell mass" of the blastocyst into a culture dish containing a nutrient-rich broth.

Lacking the necessary stimulation to differentiate, they begin to divide and replicate while maintaining their ability to become any cell type in the human body. Eventually, these undifferentiated cells can be stimulated to create specialized cells.

Stem Cell Cultures


Stem cells are either extracted from adult tissue or from a dividing zygote in a culture dish. Once extracted, scientists place the cells in a controlled culture that prohibits them from further specializing or differentiating but usually allows them to divide and replicate. The process of growing large numbers of embryonic stem cells has been easier than growing large numbers of adult stem cells, but progress is being made for both cell types.

Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research


The debates surrounding stem cell research primarily are driven by methods concerning embryonic stem cell research. The main critique of this research is that it required the destruction of a human blastocyst. That is, a fertilized egg was not given the chance to develop into a fully-developed human. People also take issue with the creation of chimeras. A chimera is an organism that has both human and animal cells and tissues. Often in stem cell research, human cells are inserted into animals (like mice or rats) and allowed to develop. This creates the opportunity for researchers to see what happens when stem cells are implanted. Many people, however, object to the creation of an organism that is "part human".

Xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. These cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants Xenotransplants could save thousands of patients waiting for donated organs. The animal organ, probably from a pig or baboon could be genetically altered with human genes to trick a patients immune system into accepting it as a part of its own body.

Donors?
Pigs are currently thought to be the best candidates for organ donation. The risk of cross-species disease transmission is decreased because of their increased phylogenetic distance from humans. They are readily available, their organs are anatomically comparable in size, and new infectious agents are less likely since they have been in close contact with humans through domestication for many generations. Current experiments in xenotransplantation most often use pigs as the donor, and baboons as human models.

Ethical Concerns
Animal rights groups against the idea of harvesting animal organs for experimentation. Crossing the species border (having a pig heart, etc.)

This Could Save Your Life

Activity
Pair up On a sheet of paper, list down at least 3 ethical concerns connected with HGP and the Germ line therapy

References
http://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~mcclean/plsc431/students99/rothe.htm http://sgugenetics.pbworks.com/w/page/38231663/The%20Human%20Genome%20Project http://www.montegen.com/Montegen/Nature_of_Business/The_Library/Genomics/Germ_Line_Gene_Th erapy/germ_line_gene_therapy.htm http://www.angelfire.com/hi3/germline/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuUpnAz5y1g&list=LL1S6I6KafLSwEVE2lkHjYeA&index=1&feature=plp p_video (Human Genome Project) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4i6lYfYQzY&list=LL1S6I6KafLSwEVE2lkHjYeA&index=1&feature=plpp _video (How to Sequence a Genome: Introduction) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfXK50Bxod8&feature=related (Gene Therapy Example) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce8ZVyUqY-I&feature=relmfu (Craig Venter) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/stem_cell/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUcE1Y_bOQE&feature=player_embedded (Stem Cells)