¿A dónde nos conducirá el conocimiento genético?

Descifrar el genoma humano ha permitido nuevas miradas sobre la naturaleza de la humanidad, nuestra relación con el mundo y nuestro futuro. Ahora tenemos un conjunto de instrucciones que especifican el desarrollo humano: cómo cada uno de nosotros se desarrolló a partir de una célula única (un huevo fertilizado) hasta llegar a ser un humano adulto formado por cientos de billones de células de miles de tipos diferentes. ¿Qué es lo que viene ahora?

El lenguaje del genoma es el ADN, cuyo alfabeto tiene sólo cuatro letras distintas: G, C, A y T. Pero el genoma contiene tres mil millones de estas letras. El Proyecto del Genoma Humano las tradujo en un "Libro de la Vida", que está formado por 500 tomos, cada uno de los cuales tiene 1000 páginas, con un promedio de 1000 palabras de seis letras por página. En términos operativos, el genoma humano consiste en una larga oración de tres mil millones de letras cortadas en 24 piezas, los cromosomas, que varían en tamaño de 45 a 280 millones de letras.

En un libro, las palabras se organizan en oraciones, las oraciones en párrafos, y los párrafos en capítulos. Cada nivel proporciona un nivel más alto y coherente de significado. Eso también ocurre con el genoma humano. Las palabras del ADN son genes que codifican proteínas, las moléculas que forman la vida. Los genes y las proteínas, a su vez, se organizan para formar los sistemas biológicos (corazón, cerebro, riñones y demás) que ejecutan las funciones de la vida.

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