Genome for a life!

When I was 13, I always wondered standing in front of a mirror, “Why do I resemble my parents?”. However, the answers I got were not convincing enough until my teacher once mentioned about the “special molecules” from my text-book. The only special molecules known to me then were “Cells” and there are 100 trillion cells in the human body! I needed to know which one of the 100 trillion was responsible for my resemblance to my parents. Moreover cells have a black blob called “Nucleus”. This nucleus contains “genes”.  At 15, I was introduced to a few complex abbreviations like DNA, RNA sounding similar yet abstract.

These words appeared often in my books. However, my attempts to make sense of them failed for some time. Probably  because I studied about “cells” for 3 years and an attempt to understand “genes” thereafter left me in a bit of a confused state with some gaps. This was bridged when the concept of “chromosomes“ was introduced to us at the end of the academic year. It was also the time I decided to take to biological sciences.

During my graduation, I understood that the human genome can be considered to be a book containing twenty-three chapters called chromosomes, each chapter containing short stories called genes. Interestingly this book is written using only 4 letters  A, T, G and C. This book contains one billion coded words, that make up the entire human genome. I was impressed with this simple explanation I found for myself.

Today, I feel lucky to be born in a generation, where the first draft of human genome is revealed. With this coded information installed within us, it is exciting to learn how a two percent difference in coded instructions can result in becoming either chimpanzees or humans. I mull over destiny as sanity hangs by these threads of life.

– Veena G Sonole

Principal Specialist

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2 thoughts on “Genome for a life!

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  1. Dear Veena,

    Nice write up. When the genome sequence draft was released, it was a triumph of course but the challenge of making sense of it lingered and infact as we know more and more about the genome, more and more we stride into the wilderness. The central dogma which perpetuated the idea of DNA-RNA-PROTEIN looks severely insufficient. It turns out that the genome codes for a huge number of RNA genes which can easily outnumber the protein coding genes. DNA is like the holy book. Gene regulation is basically interpretation of this holy book. Wrong interpretation can lead to wrong outcomes for example, cancer.

    It is important to note that high throughput sequencing technologies (deep sequencing) has changed the way we approach science. It is not too far when it will be extremely cheap to sequence the entire genome for few hundred dollars.

    On a more funnier note, the genome sequencing has unequivocally proved that Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs, Brahmins so on and so forth are all human beings.

    Best wishes

    Prashanth

    Like

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