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About genomes

What is a genome?
The genome contains the full set of human genes. It is the master set of genetic instructions that governs human biology from birth to death. The Human Genome Project is one of the greatest developments in science of our time. It will set the pace for fundamental research and technical breakthroughs. http://www.hsrc.ac.za/genome/index.html

Why should we study it?
Study of the human genome will help us understand why some people die of heart disease and others die of cancer, why some people are have brown eyes and others have blue, why some people are more susceptible to certain diseases, and so on. Each human being contains a slightly different version of the human genome, but all human genomes are similar enough that we can learn about the human genome in general by studying the genomes of one or a few individual people.

What is a gene?
A gene is a small piece of the genome. A gene is a discrete piece of hereditary information passed from parent to child. Genes are found on chromosomes and are made of DNA. Different genes determine different characteristics. One gene might determine the colour of your eyes while another may define the shape of your toes.

What is a chromosome?
A chromosome is a package containing some of an organism's genes in a neat, organized, and compact fashion. Chromosomes are made of DNA and protein.

What is DNA?
DNA (Dioxy Ribonucleic acid) is the molecule that is the hereditary material in all living cells. Genes are made of DNA, and so is the genome itself. A gene consists of enough DNA to code for one or several proteins, and a genome is simply the sum total of an organism's DNA.

What is genome sequencing?
Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome –– the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism's DNA. The human genome is made up of over 3 billion of these genetic letters.

Sequencing the genome is an important step towards understanding the locations of genes and their functions.

What is a genome map?
A genome map helps scientists navigate around the genome. Often, genome maps are used to help scientists find new genes.

What is the difference between a genome map and a genome sequence?
Both are portraits of a genome, but a genome map is less detailed than a genome sequence. A sequence spells out the order of every DNA base in the genome, while a map simply identifies a series of landmarks in the genome.

    Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation