By Linda L. McCabe

The genetic revolution has supplied tremendously worthwhile information regarding our DNA, info that may be used to profit and inform--but additionally to pass judgement on, discriminate, and abuse. a vital reference for dwelling in modern-day global, this publication offers the history details severe to realizing how genetics is now affecting our daily lives. Written in transparent, energetic language, it provides a accomplished view of interesting contemporary discoveries and explores the moral, felony, and social matters that experience arisen with every one new improvement.

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But why did genomics develop and not some other area of big science biology? The answer to this question will probably never be known, since it is diYcult to know what other areas were ignored and did not come to fruition. As a population we were fortunate to have had visionary individuals like McKusick, Sinsheimer, Dulbecco and DeLisi, who were credible advocates for the Human Genome Project. Watson was able to pitch the idea to Congress successfully and obtain a long-term funding commitment.

Many of the residual chronic disorders affecting children and adults, and the more common complex diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, have signiWcant genetic contributions. Citizens throughout the developed world were ready for a new challenge. The expectations for the space program of the 1960s had not been achieved. Humans had neither returned to the moon nor made it to Mars. People felt that if they could not exert additional controls on their physical environment, including space, then perhaps they could have greater control on their collective genetic future.

This history of the erroneous human chromosome number shows that too many of us see only what we are told we should see—we do not question prior authority. We have seen this more recently in the estimates of the number of genes in the human genome. A decade ago it was guessed at 50,000 to 100,000. This estimate supported our belief in our higher complexity compared with other organisms, to which we ascribed lower numbers of genes (chapter 4). The number of genes has fallen steadily with the completion of the Human Genome Project, and current estimates are 20,000 to 25,000 genes.

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