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Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project Still Fails to Deliver its Promised Cures

Monday, August 30, 2010 by: M.Thornley
Tags: Human Genome Project, cures, health news

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(NewsTarget) On June 26th, 2000, President Clinton announced, ``Today, we are learning the language that allowed God to create life.`` Mapping the human genome would lead to ``the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases.`` Francis Collins, director of the genome agency at the National Institutes of Health, concurred, saying at a news conference that the genome project would lead to a ``complete transformation in therapeutic medicine.`` Ten years later, this promise has not been realized.

The $3 billion Human Genome Project, begun in 1989, was an international public consortium led by the USA to discover the genetic variants that cause diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer`s.

This would be done by mapping, or sequencing, the three billion chemical units of the human genome. Now researchers are charging that the human genome project is a sell-out and a financial and scientific debacle encouraging genetic discrimination and eugenics, and they state any cures resulting from the project are still years away from realization if they can be realized at all.

Critics say the human genome project suffers from a ``genetic determinist paradigm`` or a belief that all illness is caused by genes. There is, they argue, no way to connect a gene to a trait. There are too many other environmental and genetic influences. A connection between a particular gene and a condition can only be considered a predisposition, or susceptibility, rather than an isolated, definitive cause.

A genetic determinist approach ignores environmental influences which effectively trump genetic differences as is clear when comparing breast cancer rates in women in non-industrialized Asian countries with those in industrialized countries.

Likewise studies of DDT and other pesticides make it clear that environmental and social factors are a major cause of ill-health. Pursuing an exclusively genetic connection diverts attention and resources from the real causes of disease, stigmatizes people, and encourages eugenics.

A recent study revealed the limited ability of the genome to predict heart disease in women. A medical team led by Nina Paynter at Brigham and Women`s Hospital in Boston used 101 genetic variants linked to heart disease in genome-scanning studies and followed 19,000 women for 12 years without determining a significant association with cardiovascular disease.

As reported in the February issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Paynter concluded that ``the old-fashioned method of taking a family history,`` measuring blood pressure, or doing a cholesterol reading was a better guide.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/health/res...
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/humangenome.php
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstrac...



About the author

M. Thornley enjoys walking, writing and pursuing a raw vegan diet and lifestyle.

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