The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international research effort to chart and characterize the human genome; the entire package of genetic instructions for a human being. That entails laying out, in order the 3 billion DNA letters (or base pairs) of the full human genetic code.
The Human Genome Project began in 1990. It was originally planned to take 15 years to complete but because of technological advance it should be complete by the year 2003. The eight goals of the project include deciphering the human genetic code, or DNA sequence and rapidly providing this data freely and without restrictions to the scientific community and the public. From 1990 when the HGP began until 1996, genetic and physical maps of the human chromosomes and other resources were developed because they were needed to sequence human DNA at relatively low cost and high accuracy. The physical and genetic maps provide landmarks that help scientists navigate the 3 billion pairs of bases, or DNA letters, on the human chromosomes. These maps also have helped scientists hunting for genes even before the “working draft” sequence. The second goal is to develop efficient technology to sequence human DNA. The third goal is to identify the variations in the human genetic code that underlie disease susceptibility, particularly the most common variations that are called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). The forth goal is to interpret the function of DNA sequence on a genomic scale determining how individual genes and groups of genes work together in health and disease. The fifth goal is to be able to decipher and analyze the genetic code of model organisms such as yeast, roundworm, fruit fly and mouse. The sixth goal is to examine the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genome research, identifying barriers to the integration of the results of the HGP into health care, and proposing and implementing solutions as appropriate. The seventh goal is to develop bio informative tools and computational strategies for the collection, analysis, annotation and storage of the ever-increasing amounts of DNA mapping and sequencing and gene expression data. The eighth goal is to training scientists for genomic research and analysis.