Pros and Cons of the Human Genome Project


The Human Genome Project began in the early 1990’s as an initiative from the National Human Genome Research Institute to completely map the human genome. Did with the hope of making more of the human genome known for medical research, the Human Genome Project, or HGP, has spurred on a great deal of research and debate on the subject of our genes. In particular there are several pros and cons associated with this research. Below are some of the most widely voiced opinions in favor and against the HGP.

What Are the Pros of the Human Genome Project?

1. Lead to More Discoveries
The human genome project’s main goal is to advance medicine by making more of the human genome known to people. The more of the genome that is known, the more particular medical conditions can be attributed to certain genes. By understanding the underlying genes involved in the process, it is possible that more medical discoveries can be made regarding the origin, evolution, and potential cure for these conditions.

2. Can Create More Efficient Cures
The more we understand how genes work, the easier it is to create cures that directly deal with the underlying problems. At the moment, some drugs are composed of a number of different elements that affect the body. By having an exact understanding of what we are dealing with, coming up with a cure becomes significantly easier.

3. Expands Business
With new gene research comes new businesses set up around the information gained from the HGP. That money goes towards research and paying employees.

What Are the Cons of the Human Genome Project?

1. Highlights Privacy Issues
The more of our personal genome is known, the less is hidden about what kinds of medical risks we may be exposed to. By eliminating this privacy, individuals can be seen as high risk and denied coverage because of it.

2. Raises Ethical Questions
As highlighted above, the HGP can theoretically lead to an invasion of our personal privacy as well as a potential denial of services from insurance providers. Who has the right to know this information is at the center of an ethical debate surrounding the HGP. Though there is currently no wide spread discrimination against people who know what they are susceptible towards due to HGP research, there is the very real concern that this may one day be the case. Until then, the role of the HGP and the affects it has on individuals continue to be hopeful and controversial.