Cracking the Code of Life Questions

Write a Reflection on the video segments. Incorporate the points below in your reflection. 1. Instructions for a Human Being
• • • Explain the storybook metaphor DNA’s 4 billion years of history DNA – structure, chemical makeup, function

The human genome is like a story book telling us the story of human evolution from the beginning 4 billion years ago to present day showing us how we changed to adapt to the time. The structure, chemical makeup up, and function of DNA has changed a lot over time for humans even though we share a lot of genes with every other animal on the planet, we even have 50% of our genes from weird things like a banana and humans share 50% of the same genes.

2. Getting the Letters Out
• • Goal of the Human Genome Project Explain the use of technology

The goal of the human Genome Project is to essentially create a dictionary of all the genes a human can possibly have in order to track, manipulate, and fix genes to create a better future and more cures for diseases such as cancer mutations. The technology used to find parts of the human genome and works by getting samples from different types of people to work with, once a sample is found to work with it is placed in a machine to separate the substances from the DNA then examine the DNA to label its genes.

3. One Wrong Letter
• What is Tay Sachs? • Explain the term “carrier. Tay Sachs is a genetic disorder that babies are born with causing nerve and brain degeneration that kills the baby usually by the age of 4. This can only be caused if both parents are carriers of Tay Sachs, being a carrier doesn’t necessarily mean that Tay Sachs will affect the carrier, carrier just means that they carry the gene but it doesn’t necessarily affect them.

4. The Sequencing Race Begins
• Explain: Automated DNA-reading process • Role of Celera Genomics in the HGP Celera Genomics was the HGP’s rival in the race to see who could finish creating a list of the entire human genome project first. Celera Genomics was a private company unlike HGP which was funded by public taxes. They both also use the Automated DNA-reading process which is a process controlled by machines in which DNA is sorted and labeled by a machine which makes labeling DNA much quicker and at the use of less radiation.

5. Ramping Up
• Is the HGP a necessary public investment? Explain. Yes, with the HGP or human genome project we are able to find genes that cause problems in people like mental deficiencies, diseases, and more. With this information we can spot the gene early and prevent or at the very least prepare for any issues the person might have.

6. Genetic Variation
• How similar are humans? • Sharing genes with a banana … Explain. We share 50% of our genes with a banana such as the ability the grow, the ability to store sugar, and much

more that we don’t usually think about that we also share with bananas like pigmentation which is why we have skin color and why a banana is yellow. We are much more similar than we think, we all share 99 or more percent of our genes with all the other humans around us, it’s that 1% that makes us unique.

7. Who Owns the Genome?
• Discuss arguments for and against patenting the genomic code. • The effects of patenting on drug companies Drugs that change DNA can be both good and bad, they can fix certain issues in the DNA of a patient but can also give people unfair advantages over other people which is unethical in certain aspects. If a drug was released that could change a person’s DNA make up it would cause people to manipulate their DNA and those with the most money in society would become incredibly powerful physically without having to work as hard as the common person essentially making the drug incredibly similar to steroids but without any consequences which would bring up ethical problems among society.

8. The Business of Science
• Who is “profiting” from the genome? • Describe the more recent changes in the views of the scientific community. Everyone, people will now have cures for diseases we thought would be incurable or at the very least now what diseases a person might have throughout their life or get later in their life. The scientific community originally thought that we would now be able to make the best humans possible by altering the genome but then later they realized things like that would be un ethical because of an unfair advantage to naturally born children creating an entire study on just biotech ethics and whether certain changes to the DNA of a child should be made.

9. Finding Cures is Hard
• What is cystic fibrosis (CF)? • Explain HOW Genes determine Proteins. • HOW does the 3-dimensional structure of a protein affect its function? Genes are the instructions of essentially everything in the body especially proteins, cells follow the DNAs orders into what they should turn into and what purpose they should serve when they receive the signal from RNA, DNA’s messenger. The structure of the protein is what chooses what the protein should be used for similar to puzzle pieces how they lock together to create something even bigger but if it’s changed it can no longer lock with that piece and must find another piece to lock with. Sometimes problems arise when a protein doesn’t quite follow the genes instructions causing abnormalities such as cystic fibrosis which is the excessive production of mucous that can clog up the lungs and nasal passage ways.

10. Complexity in Proteins
• What is a proteome? An entire set of proteins expressed by a genome, cell, tissue or organism at a certain time.

11. The Finish Line
• Discuss the new beginning and direction in science Now that the human genome has been written we essentially have an instruction booklet to all the human DNA, this will let us check what kind of genes cause diseases or abnormalities and we can prepare or possibly even remove that broken gene from the DNA entirely in the future.

12. Finding Disease Genes
• • Scientific processes involved in identifying genes for traits like baldness Explain: "Iceland -All in the family."

• Use of DeCODE's giant DNA database The process people use for indentifying genes that make people bald would by comparing the genes of people who are bald to those who are not and check the differences between the two to see what could be changed from the bald gene to make it look more like the gene with hair. The best sources for this kind of information would be DeCODE’s giant DNA data base that has the biggest DNA data base to date and Iceland’s family tree website which has the most detailed family trees compared to any other site. Iceland’s site can be used to trace back when a certain gene popped up and what during that time may have caused the gene to change.

13. DNA Databases
• What is GATTACA? • Gene chips and newborns? Gene chips are pretty much what they sound like, a chip carrying genes, gene chips could be placed into newborns to improve their genes such as removing diseases or increasing certain areas to increase the newborns life. There is a movie that demonstrates this which is known as GATTACA, a movie taking place in the distant future where your DNA ID controls how your life goes. Those with good and powerful DNA are automatically placed in high jobs and positions while defective ones are placed in the lowest ones such as janitors and garbage men. In the movie parents have the choice to modify their child to be the best they could be at an expense or have a natural birth and risk their child being placed in the lowest tier in society which brings up many ethical problems in that society which are over looked or just not given attention too.

14. A family Disease
• Discuss the mutations BRCA1 and 2 Mutations of BRCA1 and 2 lead to much higher chances of breast cancer and other cancers; it is very dangerous to have the mutation because of how it can negatively affect its owner.

15. Genetic Modification
• Enhancing your kids- pros and cons • Safety of genetically modified foods • Explain some concerns about GMO Enhancing your kids would let them become the best they could be but children who are born naturally would have a disadvantage to those who were modified causing the modification of children to become unethical because of unfair advantages. Plant life has been tested already with modifications, these plants are now listed as GMOs or genetically modified organisms. GMOs usually have higher resistance to parasites, remove certain disliked attributes from plants like grape and watermelon seeds but along with that we also end up eating those chemicals which even though GMOs have not been directly linked to abnormalities eating genetically modified food does have a chance of changing things in the consumer as well.

16. Contemplating the Message
• Again " Who owns the Genome?" It belongs to all animals and humans in existence, it was decided at the end that both companies would join together to finish faster instead of competing against each other. That and it would leave a bad image if a private company was racing a public one.