On this date in 2003, a press conference was held to announce the completion of the Human Genome Project, two years earlier than planned.
The goal of the project was to figure out the order of chemical base pairs that make up DNA and to identify and map all 20,000 – 25,000 human genes. Obviously, since nobody has exactly the same genome (other than identical twins), the project of mapping the genome involves sequencing variations of each gene.
This project and other parallel projects, as well as work on sequencing the genome of other creatures and comparison of various genomes, has furthered and will continue to be applied to medicine, energy and environmental projects, forensics (such as identifying the victim of a crime), agriculture, ancestry and human evolution, migration, and assorted other anthropology topics.
Learn more about Genetics
- Here is a wonderful online mini-course on genetics. Each concept has an illustrated explanation, animation, “gallery” of photos or diagrams, some audio-visual clips, biographies of important scientists, a problem or two for kids to answer, and links to other websites. Excellent!
- Explore the Eye Color Calculator (and learn more about genes and inheritance)!
- Here are some more lessons, labs (experiments), games, and puzzles. All the PDF files I looked at seemed to be for middle grades and up, and many are best done in groups or classrooms.
- This simple experiment uses ordinary household items to extract DNA from fruit. You can actually see and feel DNA!
- There are more DNA activities in this December, 2009, post.