Answer & Enrich Your Learning:
Earth Bio Genome Project:
- The Earth Bio Genome Project (EBP), proposes a detailed genome-sequence draft of every eukaryote species (organisms with a defined nucleus and to which belong all plants and animals).
- There are about eight million eukaryotic species being able to create their detailed genetic sequences will reveal unexpected, evolutionary connections among the genus, orders and families that make up the so-called Tree of Life.
- So far, less than 0.2% of eukaryote genomes have been sequenced and these are at the level of “draft genomes”, meaning that they are still at the crudest resolution.
- The Earth Bio Genome Project will make use of existing resources and institutions whose mission is to procure and preserve the world’s biodiversity.
- The EBP has a 10-year road map and hopes to sequence about 1.5 million eukaryote species in three phases. This exercise needs global collaboration and can have many benefits.
- For instance, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN has not only helped Indian physicists but also given a boost to Indian industries, in that they have designed specialised equipment for the machine.
- The EBP will have similar spin-off benefits.
- The EBP project will support and promote international protocols for data storage and sharing.
- Sequencing such a large number of organisms will require innovative computation- and-storage solutions and the programming acumen of many thousands across the world.
- The greatest legacy of the EBP will be the gift of knowledge — a complete Digital Library of Life that contains the collective biological intelligence of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary history.
Human Genome Project (HGP):
- The Human Genome Project was a 13-year project coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institute of Health.
- During the early years of the HGP, the Wellcome Trust (U.K.) became a major partner; additional contributions came from Japan, France, Germany, China and others. The project was completed in 2003.
- Human genome is said to have approximately 3 x 109 bp, and if the cost of sequencing required is US $ 3 per bp (the estimated cost in the beginning), the total estimated cost of the project would be approximately 9 billion US dollars.
- Further, if the obtained sequences were to be stored in typed form in books, and if each page of the book contained 1000 letters and each book contained 1000 pages, then 3300 such books would be required to store the information of DNA sequence from a single human cell.
- The enormous amount of data expected to be generated also necessitated the use of high speed computational devices for data storage and retrieval, and analysis.
- HGP was closely associated with the rapid development of a new area in biology called Bioinformatics.
Goals of HGP:
- Identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA;
- Determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA;
- Store this information in databases;
- Improve tools for data analysis;
- Transfer related technologies to other sectors, such as industries;
- Address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.
Salient Features of Human Genome:
- The human genome contains 3164.7 million nucleotide bases.
- The average gene consists of 3000 bases, but sizes vary greatly, with the largest known human gene being dystrophin at 2.4 million bases.
- The total number of genes is estimated at 30,000–much lower than previous estimates of 80,000 to 1,40,000 genes. Almost all (99.9 per cent) nucleotide bases are exactly the same in all people.
- The functions are unknown for over 50 per cent of the discovered genes.
- Less than 2 per cent of the genome codes for proteins.
- Repeated sequences make up very large portion of the human genome.
- Repetitive sequences are stretches of DNA sequences that are repeated many times, sometimes hundred to thousand times. They are thought to have no direct coding functions, but they shed light on chromosome structure, dynamics and evolution.
- Chromosome 1 has most genes (2968), and the Y has the fewest (231).
- Scientists have identified about 1.4 million locations where single base DNA differences (SNPs – single nucleotide polymorphism, pronounced as ‘snips’) occur in humans.
This information promises to revolutionise the processes of finding chromosomal locations for disease-associated sequences and tracing human history.
Applications and Future Challenges:
- Deriving meaningful knowledge from the DNA sequences will define research through the coming decades leading to our understanding of biological systems.
- This enormous task will require the expertise and creativity of tens of thousands of scientists from varied disciplines in both the public and private sectors worldwide.
- One of the greatest impacts of having the HG sequence may well be enabling a radically new approach to biological research. In the past, researchers studied one or a few genes at a time.
- With whole-genome sequences and new high-throughput technologies, we can approach questions systematically and on a much 2015-16 121 MOLECULAR BASIS OF INHERITANCE broader scale.
- They can study all the genes in a genome, for example, all the transcripts in a particular tissue or organ or tumor, or how tens of thousands of genes and proteins work together in interconnected networks to orchestrate the chemistry of life.
Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector:
- The neutrino observatory is located in a cavern 1.2 km under a rocky mountain in the Bodi West Hills at Pottipuram village in Theni district, about 110 km west of Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
- The underground project comprises a complex of caverns – the main cavern that house a 50-kilotonne magnetised iron calorimeter detector to study a fundamental particle called neutrino.