Scientists Finish Decoding Human Genome

    Image copyright: AP Images [via New York Post]

    The Facts

    • On Thurs., researchers announced that, more than two decades after its very first draft, the human genome has finally been fully mapped.

    • The first mapping occurred in 2000, but was missing around 8% of the complete genome due to DNA sequencing technologies' inability to read certain parts.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This is a historic scientific achievement. Mapping the human genome has been an ongoing project for decades with many milestones along the way, and the work is never complete. This huge breakthrough brings us closer to a future where all the variants in a person's DNA will be identifiable - something that could lead to major advances in healthcare.

    Narrative B

    We need to be very careful of "gene hype." While researching the human genome has huge potential benefits for medicine and our understanding of human diversity and origins, a blizzard of misleading rhetoric has contributed to a widespread and dangerous misunderstanding of genes. Concerningly, arguments about eugenics and "innate" racial characteristics have re-entered public discourse. We would be wise to proceed cautiously.

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