Fighting disease with non-human genomes
As previously touched on, the genome is the entirety of genetic material carried by an individual or species and varies accordingly. The database of genomes of different species is growing and includes humans (the Human Genome Project). For example, the human genome, by chromosome, is viewable here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome/?term=homo+sapiens
Following the successful first complete sequencing of a human genome, an updated project called 100,000 Genome Project in the UK has been launched by the government through the NHS to sequence the genomes of rare disease and cancer patients as well as their families. The insights gleaned from this data may serve to find treatments, as well as provide a rich source for further research that may be relevant to other disciplines in molecular biology and epidemiology.
I got some of my DNA screened for several select markers, including for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s, as well as many inherited conditions. Before I could see the results, which could tell me I am at a higher risk for some of these conditions, I had to read a statement explaining what these results could mean, not just for myself, but for members of my family too. Maybe I didn’t really care at the time whether I would be more likely to get Alzheimer’s in my old age, but suddenly I realised it might be extremely relevant for my mother or…