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20 years after the human genome was first sequenced, dangerous gene myths abound

Misleading rhetoric has fuelled the belief that our genetic code is an ‘instruction book’ – but it’s far more interesting than that

Twenty years ago, the science journal Nature published the first draft of the human genome: the sequence of chemical “letters” on the gene-bearing DNA of our chromosomes.

  • Philip Ball
  • The Guardian

The Human Genome Project (HGP) had laboured for a decade to read this coded information.

In a White House press conference in 2000, Francis Collins, who led the project as director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, waxed biblical, calling the human genome “our own instruction book, previously known only to God”.

The HGP has…

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