by Pyotr CHUMAKOV, Dr. Sc. (Biol.), laboratory head, Cell Proliferation Laboratory, Engelgardt Institute of Molecular Biology (RAS), Russia; laboratory head, Lerner Research Institute Laboratory, USA
Humankind in changing fast, changing before our very eyes. Where is this going to end? Will the frenzied pace of biotechnologies change the biological nature of Man, the Homo sapiens? These are no idle questions, though not quite so obvious a couple of decades ago as Acad. Ivan Frolov posed the problem of comprehensive multidisciplinary studies of Man. His ideas are as topical as ever today.
Logo of the international Human Genome Project.
Human civilization is in for a qualitative leap in the technological sphere. And not only there for that matter. There is yet another revolution in the offing, one related to the biological nature of man, his inherited do's and dont's encoded in our genome. It is quite symbolic that at the very close of the past 20th century the hereditary information of our genome was decoded in full. This information codes for all characters and biological processes of the human organism. In keeping with the international Human Genome Project it has become possible to determine the sequence of the 3 bln DNA base pairs within 23 chromosomal pairs, which means we have full information on the potential structure of each of the 23,000 genes making up our genome. Proceeding from this information we can visualize the structure of proteins encoded in the genome. Biologists now hold a most detailed "roadmap" that will speed up genetic research tenfold and hundredfold.
In this country work on the Human Genome Project is closely associated with Acad. Ivan Frolov. Our biology was in a sorry plight because of the officially sponsored crackdown instigated by Acad. Trofim Lysenko in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Soviet genetics, once forward, was in fact routed by Lysenko and his henchmen. Its lag was truly great. Frolo ... Читать далее