Human Genome Decoding - Cracking the Code of Life – Movie Review Example

Introduction The video explores the research experiments in decoding human DNA in human genome project that ended in the year 2001. The reporter starts by giving a brief explanation of origin of life on earth that also explains similarity in all organisms on earth at the cell level. Human beings are purported to originate from Africa million years ago (PBS 00:43:00) with large similarity of 99.9% in their genes. Explanation of the DNA helical structure introduces concepts of human genome project, which had a goal of showing the composition of molecules passed from parents to offspring that brought out similarity in them. The video explains further by speaking to scientists on the progress in sequencing process and elaborates the application of the human genome project. Sequencing of DNA gives further idea on how to avoid future fatalities from mutation. The whole project explains origin of life, DNA structure, human genome project with some case studies and application of the project.
Life began on earth millions years ago through lightning reaction to form basic molecules. Over the years, cell formed evolved at different rates to generate varied organisms but the fundamental structures remained the same. The origin of life depended in formation depended on DNA ‘secret of life’. The study of genes further reveals the varied ratio of genes in the organisms to human. Fruitfly has half the number of human genes despite the complexity differences. Further, the studying of the double helix structure of DNA (PBS 00:09:00) reveals more information about similarities of organisms. In this way, the video explains the origin of life and structures maintained in organisms.
Start of genome sequencing started with systems that were very slow. With need to understand, the human genes and how they work pushed scientist Craig Venter, president Celera Genomics, to think of another way to fasten the process. The invention of the computer-controlled sequencing was important. Replication of each DNA strand to produce more of them took place in the bacteria. The tagging with dye followed and finally using laser to show each type of base pair inserted. The invention was important to companies like Celera Genomics Corporation and federal supported scientists that sequenced human DNA. First group to complete sequencing would enjoy publication and funds from donors (PBS 01:14:25). There was great competition between the parties on who will finish first. By the year 1999, automated systems enabled sequencing of a third of three billion human genome base pairs (PBS 47:00). These new systems enabled scientists to work faster in sequencing of human genes.
The project aimed at early detection and curing of diseases related to gene mutation with minor changes in base pairs. Some of these diseases mentioned include T sex disease and cystic fibrosis (PBS 00:59:22). Diseases resulted in from formation of ineffective protein in the brain for T sex and all organs in cystic fibrosis. The need to know how to control the proteins further led to development of study of all proteins in the body. The understanding of transcription, translation and folding of the protein became the centre of study. The only problem was to understand why these genes had differing effects on the patients affected which raised a question of other associated genes. Craig Gerald tries to answer this question by explaining genes do not act alone (1.08.29). As Dickinsons explains (PBS 50: 23), the use the knowledge generated production of proteins such as insulin for diabetes patients. Understanding the DNA structure is therefore fundamental in dealing with diseases associated with gene mutations.
During the research, problems with patents became a major issue as scientists could patent even part of the DNA sequence. In scientific community, knowledge sharing was the basis for research, which differed in the way Tonny White, CEO Applera Corporation looked at it (00.56.20). The researchers related the defective genes to a particular disease by considering the sequences together with those closely related to them but do not have a problem.
In conclusion, the project was important in making a step in understanding human system. Elaboration of similarity between all organisms and the basics of life became clearer through the study. The mechanics for formation of the building blocks became more understandable. With understanding the basic functions of the decoding system, explanations of various diseases such as diabetes in scientific perspective become easier. It enables early prediction of predisposal to family-related diseases like ovarian and breast cancer (PBS 01:33:12). Creation of a reference gene sequence is important in subsequent researches to know the defective genes and prevention where possible not to cause any fatalities.
Work cited
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Cracking the Code of Life. NOVA chronicles the race to reach one of the greatest milestones in the history of science: decoding the human genome. PBS Video Clip. April 17, 2001. Web. Accessed from