Human Genome Project: Reassessment and Philosophical Analysis

Abstract

Since the discovery of the structure of the deoxyribonucleic acid molecule, scientists have attempted to map the human genome. Completion of the project has forced us to face the new task of deciding what to do with the information we have acquired.

Key Concepts:

  • The discovery of the double helix was the start of molecular biology.

  • The challenge of mapping the genes of the human genome.

  • The need for a comparative approach, going beyond humans to other organisms.

  • Development is not just a matter of the number of genes, but of how they interact in growth.

  • The dangers of thinking that genes alone dictate human nature and human health.

  • The exciting possibilities of designer medicine.

Keywords: gene; human; disease; DNA; moral issues

References

Carroll SB (2005) Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. New York, NY: Norton.

International HapMap Consortium (2010) Integrating common and rare genetic variation in diverse human populations. Nature 467: 52–58.

Lewontin RC (2000) The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

McElheny VK (2010) Drawing the Map of Life: Inside the Human Genome Project. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Pääbo S (2014) Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Ruse M (2012) The Philosophy of Human Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ruse M and Castle D (eds) (2002) Genetically Modified Foods. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.

Stitch S (1978) The recombinant DNA debate. Philosophy and Public Affairs 7: 187–205.

Venter JC (2007) A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life. New York, NY: Viking.

Watson JD and Crick FHC (1953) Molecular structure of nucleic acids. Nature 171: 737.

Further Reading

Karen GB (2012) Decoding Our DNA: Craig Venter vs the Human Genome Project. New York, NY: Twenty-First Century.

McElheny VK (2012) Drawing the Map of Life: Inside the Human Genome Project. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Quackenbush J (2011) Curiosity Guides: The Human Genome. Chicago, IL: Imagine.

Ridley M (2006) Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. New York, NY: Harper.

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How to Cite close
Ruse, Michael(Sep 2014) Human Genome Project: Reassessment and Philosophical Analysis. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003446.pub3]