Originally Posted by Shamagim
oh the dirty places i could take that comment =P
Cartoonfox, you're not "dumb" for asking! From the end of the article, they say that this chromosome holds many answers to what causes human genetic ailments. They've already found a common gene that is related to the deformity of cleft pallates, so now they might be able to alter these genes to function "properly." Knowing what's inside of the last chromosome means scientists will be able to understand genetic reasons behind cancer and diseases. Pretty damn awesome!
man i so smell GATTICA in 20 years...
Actually, the news here is that after the Human genome sequence was announced as fully sequenced there was small percentage that had not been correctly sequenced, because there are some tricky parts that are difficult to sequence. So there was still some gaps that needed to be filled up. I think that is what they have done now.
I think there are over 300 genetic diseases mapped for that chromossome.
The chromossome sequence itself won't bring insight for any disease by itself, but it is a powerfull tool for geneticists studying dieseases in this chromossome.
I wouldn't callit a powerful tool. It's the starting point of being really able to see what's going on there. Having the whole sequence of the genome is not that helpful. It's like having a city's complete telephone directory. You know all the names and the adresses/telephone numbers but you still don't know if the city has a low rate on unemployment, high living standard or anything else. The next step is knowing the proteome and how it 'interacts' with the genome. What change in one piece of DNA results in some changed protein (and how many). That again results in some changed metabolic pathways which in return change gene expression (which gene's DNA sequence gets converted to protein next). It's one big dependent and reacting network called life. And just knowing all the letters in the book is one step. Knowing where the problem is located is the next step and knowing what this change in the DNA is doing in the proteome and what you need to do to improve the situation is the hardest part (and even then you don't know if some of that 'bad protein' is not needed in some cells and acts in a positive way in this part).
Try to think of being god in a big and complex road/street/highway system (not these simple ones we have here on earth) where you as god try to change things to keep the cars moving, you need to work on the traffic lights and change then to optimise the flow, then there are pedestrians and public transport systems, lights, accidents and whatever else can happen. This god is your body and you are just trying to live and as a human being you don't even feel these millions of reactions that happen each second.
Some other intersting information: The human genome this one thing doesn't exist. As you all know we are all unique because of geneitc recombination, homologous recombination (crossover), and mutation. So something like a 100% unified human genome doesn't exists (see genetic fingrprint). If I remember correctly they took DNA from five people to get some sort of average information and be able to create a useable map of the human genome.
It is crazy not considering that having a sequenced (and anotated) genome, of the organism your are working with, to be a powerfull tool. As I said of course the sequence by itself won't reveal anything. But working without the genome sequence available is like going back to mediaval ages in my opinion (ok I didn't need to exagerate that much ).
But anyhow, having that information available is very very helpfull.
The article doesn't say much but I think it could be a bit like this.
The human genome project got the whole genome sequenced (something like having all the letters in one big line, fixed but unreadable) some time ago (that is true). And this breakthrough is probably that they managed to take this list of letters and cut it up in words (genes) and make it readable and useful. The article mentiones that they found some genes that are responsible for something but there is no real information it that article.
Its what I said before. The sequence was not totally finished, there were small parts of the chromossomes that are difficult to sequence, mostly because of very repetitive sequences that are difficult to analyse. So there were still small gaps that needed to be closed.
When you sequence a genome all you have is its sequence, then you have to analyse and anotate it (meaning identify genes, regulatory sequences and so on). Some parts were already studied previous to sequencing, especially genes that were being studied before. Other were anotated after and there is still a lot to do!