What Is the Goal of the Human Genome Project?


Quick Answer

The Human Genome Project is an ambitious attempt to catalog and trace the origin of each piece of the human genetic code. As a result of this ongoing study, many traits have been followed back to their first appearance within the human species.

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The fact is, there is less than a 2 percent difference between humans and the closest living hominid species — genetic cousins effectively. These are the great apes, such as gorillas and chimpanzees. That 2 percent has given humanity minds like Einstein, so it's not hard to imagine that such a small difference in DNA can be expressed in diverse ways. The results thus far have determined that modern humans alive today at one point may have intermingled with other hominid species, such as Neanderthal. As well, it has been established that every current genetically different group at one point originated in the same place. The oldest living human DNA can be found in North Africa, among the bush tribes, where it is thought that human speech first evolved. These people lack nearly all of the later adaptations that can be found in other genetic populations, but who also possess markers from their genetic origins in Africa.

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