The Human Genome Probject (HGP) began October 1, 1990 and was completed in April 2003. The HGP allowed scientists to access the complete genetic blueprint responsible for human beings. With this information, modern scientists are able to modify human DNA using genome altering innovations such as CRISPR, and mRNA.
Now, in 2021, genomic research has become the next frontier of modern medicine, as the world begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The act of altering genetics may very well be responsible for the prevention of another global epidemic. In contrast, genetic mutation may also mark the end of our natural genome as we know it, and the beginning of the next evolution of our species.
The Human Genome Project unveiled what it means to be “human”, and that definition is changing. What genetic advantages can genomic research bring? What are the ethical horrors that loom ahead?
To understand the vast possibilities of DNA altering genetic research, one must start with an analysis of the genome itself.
What is a genome? “A genome is a fancy word for all your DNA” states the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
What is the Human Genome Project?
“The Human Genome Project was the international research effort to determine the DNA sequence of the entire human genome.”
During its duration, the Human Genome Project was directed by Dr. Francis Collins, the current* director of the National Institutes of Health since 2009.
Dr. Francis S. Collins –
Dr. Francis Collins was appointed as director of the NHGRI on April 4th, 1993. Read Dr. Francis Collins’ full statement here
*Dr. Francis Collins announced he will be stepping down from his position at the NIH at the end of 2021, to focus on further genomic research at the NHGRI. Read more here
Human Genome Project Results
The finished sequence produced by the Human Genome Project covers about 99% of the human genome, sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%. Researchers now have a better understanding of the human genetic instruction book.
This medical breakthrough will allow researchers and scientists to revolutionize modern medicine as we know it. Unfortunately, this technology provides opportunity for corruption, and ultimately may allow others to redefine what it genetically means to be considered “human” in the modern world.
In an effort to prevent genomic monopolization, eugenics, and a loss of global genetic diversity, a “nondiscrimination act” was deveopled called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). To what extent does GINA protect humanity?
GINA: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 was developed to prevent genetic discrimination and eugenic division within our species, in regards to the sequence of our own DNA.
This act protects Americans from genetic discrimination in both health insurance and employment. Should GINA’s ethics apply to the gene altering coronavirus vaccines mandated on society? Is this measure (GINA) inapplicable when temporarily altering our genome with mRNA?
Exceptions to GINA –
The U.S. military is permitted to use genetic information to make employment decisions. In addition, GINA does not apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Risks and Dangers of Genomics
Who owns the human genome?
Imagine a world where pharmaceutical manufacturers claim patent to your own altered DNA. This surreal thought of science fiction may soon become our reality, as genomics integrates itself deeper into our modern society.
The National Human Genome Research Institute’s website states, “private companies can apply for patents on edited or synthetic genes, which have been altered significantly from their natural versions to count as a new, patentable, product.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling against the patenting of natural DNA provides more incentive for major pharmaceutical companies to patent and potentially own the future of our genetically modified species. As new gene expression technology comes into modern practice, where will the line be drawn on the mutation of our original DNA for financial profit, or ownership by patent.
Could this mean companies that use mRNA to alter DNA can apply for patents on our “edited genes”? Are our genes, which “have been altered significantly from their natural versions” now considered a “new, patentable, product”?
Should companies be allowed patent altered human DNA? If so, will companies be able to recall outdated altered genomes at their own discretion? Is the future of humanity destined to exist under patented genetics, susceptible to mandatory “annual” upgrades? With the rise of mRNA technology, and the now full FDA approval of new coronavirus vaccines, has the patented genome-altering invasion already begun?