The completion of the Human Genome Project provides the international community with a detailed map
of chromosomes and the genetic code. This has many current and projected benefits which can be designated into six categories:
Molecular Medicine: Benefits in this area include improvements in disease diagnosis
and therapeutic and preventative medicine. It is also anticipated that scientists may be able to design custom drugs (pharmacogenetics)
tailored to a person's medical needs.
Energy Sources and Environmental Applications: Advancements here would mean using
mocrobial genomics to monitor the environment for pollutants and to develop new energy sources.
Risk Assesement: Improvements in risk assesement would result in a more efficient
way of evaluating the hazards posed to people who come in contact with carcinogens (cancer-causing
agents) and radiation.
Bioarcheology, Anthropology, Evolution and Human Migration: Scientists would use
the knowledge gained about genes and would examine gene mutations to trace lineages and the path of human migration.
DNA Forensics: Benefits in forensics include the ability to match suspects to crimes
using genetic profiles, identify bodies and match organs with organ recipients.
Livestock Breeding and Bioprocessing: A positive implication for bioprocessing is
the production of more nutritious disease, drought and insect resistant crops. Livestock breeding can advance as well, with
healthier and more disease resistant animals.
Shortly prior to the completion of the HGP, the National Institutes of Health initiated another
project called the Hap Map, a three year effort designed to map genetic variation of the human genome. The Hap Map is a map
of SNP patterns (single nucleotide polymorphisms) charted through populations in Africa, Asia and the United States. Scientists
hope that the map will provide clues about how environmental factors influence genetic variation. The Hap Map may also prove
to be a useful tool to quickly identify sections of DNA associated with complex conditions.
Now that the goals of the Human Genome Project have all been successfully met, scientists are concentrating
on proteins and their functions. If scientists can discern a protein's function, they can improve treatments associated with
a dysfunction in the production of that protein.