UT Professor Says Genome Project Opens New Frontiers

Knoxville – Scientists announced they have essentially mapped the genetic instruction book for human life.

Rival teams of geneticists came together Monday to say that most of the protein connections in human DNA molecules have been identified.

A University of Tennessee biologist said the Human Genome project will provide a glimpse into the deepest secrets of human biology.

“It’s a huge advance,” said Dr. Cynthia Peterson. “We now have a wealth of information to draw on, and we can add functionality to it, identify where the genes are, and help diagnose and treat disease.”

A UT philosophy professor said scientists and the public must not ignore the ethical impact of the project.

“There are a lot of different issues and they each have to be dealt with on their own terms,” said Dr. Jonathan Kaplan.

“What’s this going to do for health insurance? How much of this information is going to be commercial? These issues need to be addressed,” said Kaplan.

Legislation is pending in Congress to protect people from discrimination based on their genetic profile.