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Human Genome project (HGP) is a scientific research project with a main aim of determining the progression of chemical base-pairs that are contained in DNA. The purpose of this scientific undertaking is to comprehend the human genetic makeup. Abhilash (2009) highlights that proteome is a combination of protein and genome; proteome comes from the word proteins and refers to all proteins that are produced by an organism in a given set of environmental conditions and just like the genome it is a set of genes. Human Proteome Project (HPP) therefore, is a study of protein’s structure and functions. Abhilash (2009) highlights that “the genome is a rather constant entity; the proteome differs from cell to cell and is constantly changing through its biochemical interactions with the genome” (Abhilash, 2009, p. 1).
Out of a research that was done in human genome project, there are fewer proteins coding in the human genome in comparison to the proteins in human proteome and the ratio is as follows: 20,000 to 25,000 genes versus 1,000,000 proteins. According to Stuckelberger et al. (2008), Human Genome Project completed the sequence in 2003 and the genes’ count and protein is still going through evolvement, and it was recently reported that a human being may be having 20,488 genes with about 100 more to be discovered by the researchers who are still on with the investigations (Stuckelberger et al., 2008).
Human Genome Project emerged from two key insights that came up in early 1980s; the argument was that the ability to take global opinions of genomes could accelerate biomedical research greatly through allowing researchers to address the problem in comprehensive and unbiased ways. This would require a communal effort and several projects such as the sequencing of the bacterial viruses, the programme to create a human genetic map, the programme to create maps of clones and the development of random shotgun sequencing in complementary DNA helped to crystallize the insights.
According to The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2010), the achievement of both the Human Genome Project and Human Proteome Project has provided a blue print towards gene-encode proteins, which are potentially active in hundreds of cell types that are contained in the human body. International efforts to trace the protein complement and human proteome is f much significance. This attempt will ensure “a publicly available supply of protein-specific reagents, protein profiling data and DNA clones covering all the protein-coding genes of the human genome and human proteome” (The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2010, p. 1). With the incorporation of technology the projects are expected to deliver great results in regard to understanding the foundation of ailments (The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2010).
According to Abhilash (2009), proteomics involves nine branches: “protein separation, protein identification, protein qualification, protein sequence analysis, structural proteomics, protein modification, cellular proteomics and experimental bioinformatics” (Abhilash, 2009, p. 1). Abhilash (2009) argues that Human Proteome Project heavily relies on the separation power of technology; the proteins get separated for easy and further research. In protein identification, low-throughput sequencing is used through Edman degradation while for the case of protein quantification gel-based methods become handy: “gel-free methods include different tagging or even chemical modification methods” (Abhilash, 2009, p. 1). Abhilash (2009) noted that “structural proteomics is concerned with the high-throughput determination of protein structures based on three-dimensional space while interaction proteomics is concerned about the investigation of protein interactions at the levels of molecular, cellular, and atomic levels” (p. 1). In protein modification, all the proteins are modified and exclusive means of studying them are applied. According to Abhilash (2009):
Experimental bioinformatics is a new branch of proteomics whose goal is to map the location of proteins and protein-protein interactions in whole cells during key cell events. It involves the mutual design of experimental and bioinformatics methods to create (extract) new types of information from proteomics experiments. (Abhilash, 2009, p. 1)
According to Greek and Greek (2002), the Human Genome Project and Human Proteome Project will open up new views for disease cure and prevention through speeding up the identification of some specific genes which are involved in disease spreading. The insights of the project will give a clear idea on the next move bearing in mind that the study of the human body reveals that genetic cause of diseases of the following diseases represents the next step: “sickle-cell anemia, cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, testicular cancer, familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and hereditary spastic paraplegia” (Greek & Greek, 2002, p. 1).
Greek and Greek (2002) highlighted that understanding the genome will in a way affect medicine and science on numerous fronts. This will allow large numbers of new drugs to be tailor-made for specific gene-induced diseases, which may include heart disease and cancer in particular individuals. If we determine the structures that are involved in human structure, then it will be possible to design on a computer a drug that interacts with the proteins as we would like (Greek & Greek, 2002).
According to Glasner et al (2007), one of the clarifications for the magnitude of proteome relative to genome is gene slicing, and it amplifies the number of various proteins that can be translated out of a given DNA sequence. In the gene slicing, gene transcripts are cut and later recombined such that a coding DNA sequence provides a number of various protein isoforms. Another factor that brings that diversity of the proteome is that a functioning protein is greater than a sequence of amino acids. He argues that most proteins are modified through the use of chemicals such as sugar and phosphates.
Projects’ Objectives and Aims
Wilkie (1993) shaded light on Human Genome Project’s objective: “to map and analyze every single gene within the double helix of humanity’s DNA” (Wilkie, 1993, p. 1). This project aims at revealing a new human anatomy of complete genetic blueprint for a human being. The assumption, therefore, is that the new genetical anatomy will transform medicine and also mitigate human suffering. He further argues that although human genome project is compared to the Apollo programme, it transforms human life and human history more deeply than any other high-tech interventions in the space age. In addition to this, its impact exceeds the understanding and treatment of the single-gene faults already mentioned. It has been clearly researched that diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and some other psychiatric illness do not have strong genetic components.
According to Hamacher, Marcus and Slither (2006), the first Human Proteome Project is designed to identify the proteins which are produced by human genes. If this is achieved, the relation between proteins and diseases will be fully understood. According to American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2010), “protein profiling should ideally be performed using complementary mass spectrometry and protein capture technology platforms with proper standardization (9, 10) to allow comparative studies (p. 1). The insights acquired from these kinds of projects are very vital in developing firm knowledge on the human body.
The Human Proteome Project is going to provide scientists with information that forecasts the shape of a very large number of the human proteins. Such predictions will provide scientists with an idea needed in the identification of biological functions concerning individual proteins in the human body. With clear reliable information concerning each protein and how they affect human health, scientists will be in a position to develop a new cure for diseases such as cancer, malaria, SARS and HIV/AIDS (Hamacher, Marcus & Slither, 2006).
In conclusion, Glasner et al (2007) argues that through the completion of the Human Proteome Project and Human Genome Project, it is time to reflect the role of animals in the post-genomic age. He argues that more than 3,000 diseases, which are from single-gene defects exist in human beings, and yet it is hard to use animal models in order to identify human genes since animal genes, lifestyle and metabolism are much different from humans’. He also highlights that some specific defects can be as tricky to recognize and characterize as those of their human complement but through more research, this will be a problem dealt with. It is therefore, the researchers’ responsibility to investigate more and come up with ways that can help in identification of the two.
Abhilash, M. (2009). Applications of Proteomics. Internet Scientific Publication. Web.
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Glasner et al. (2007). New Genetics, New Social Formations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Greek, C. R., & Greek, J. S. (2002). Specious science: How genetics and evolution reveal why medical research on animal harms humans. New York, NY: Continuum.
Hamacher, M., Marcus, K., & Slither, K. (2006). Proteomics in Drug Research. New York, NY: Wiley-VCH.
Stuckelberger et al. (2008). Anti-ageing medicine: Myths and chances. Bern, Switzerland: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft.
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2010). A Gene-centric Human Proteome Project. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Web.
Wilkie, T. (1993). Perilous knowledge: The human genome project and its implications. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.