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Human Recipe, Complete

By Ya Han Hsu

A group of scientists finally found the whole human genome recently.

Every creature is made of cells. In most lives, there is a nucleus inside each cell, containing messages from the ancestors, DNA. They are shaped like a string, only so small that people have struggled to figure out what messages they’re containing. Just like English letters, the code inside DNAs are spelled by the four letters, C, G, A, T. DNA’s main job is like a recipe, the cell forms new proteins according to the messages. The proteins are especially important; they are what make us, well, us, we are made of proteins.

A century ago, the scientists understood that the genes are spread across the twenty three chromosomes, but they still didn’t know what those are for. ( Today, we know they are formed by DNAs and proteins when a cell is about to split into two.) People kept working to decode the messages hidden inside our bodies. As the technology progressed, scientists got further. The newest reference genome came out in 2013. Though there are still places which scientists couldn’t figure out, it was much better than the first one.

In 2019, Adam Phillippy, a computational biologist at the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Karen Miga, a geneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz founded the Telomere-to-Telomere Consortium. Their goal was to complete the human’s genome. There are more than one hundred scientists working there. After years of work, they finally reached their goal. Their research not only gives experts a reference to research our relationships with other creatures, but also help doctors to treat patients who have genetic diseases.

“It’s a great advance for the field,” said Dr. Midhat Farooqui, the director of molecular oncology at Children’s Mercy, a hospital in Kansas City, Mo.( She wasn’t involved in the study.)


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