Biology: Human Genome Project Prompt
Posted by Science on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 1:46 pmin
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international endeavor, with laboratories throughout the world collaborating. However, there were also efforts in some parts of the world to gain commercial benefits from the outcomes of the project. Data from HGP can be viewed in different ways: it could be seen as a complete account of what makes up a human, if one takes a reductionist view of life, or, alternatively, as merely the chemical instructions that have allowed a huge range of more significant human characteristics to develop. This could lead to a discussion about the essential nature of humanity.
Completing the HGP was, in my opinion, a significant step towards answering the controversial, intriguing question of “what makes us humans?” The project reveals that, for the most part, humans are made up of varying nucleotide sequences that code for different proteins, which in turn help our bodies function a certain way. Some people might say that this is merely a scientific, black-and-white approach to the question, and that it doesn’t really do the question justice – do those volumes of A-T-G-Cs consider human’s capacity for emotions? logic? metacognition? Nevertheless, I think that such explanation is a valid starting point, although it doesn’t necessarily have all the pieces to the puzzle. For years, people have engaged in the nature vs. nurture debate, and I believe the essential nature of humanity is indeed something that is determined by both nature and nurture. HGP provides the nature side of the story, and I think as people further pursue the project’s outcomes in the coming years, it will lead to the nurture side of the story – and just how significant are the roles played by each factor.