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The human genome includes all the genes and other genetic information contained in human cells, and sequencing it is a monumental feat that's been compared to the U.S. moon shot or even the Manhattan Project, minus the fireworks.

It is a text 3.5 billion years in the making, and the fact that it is written in a language we don't fully understand doesn't diminish the excitement. It might take a century to completely decipher the genome, but year by year, that quest will provide fresh insights into what sets humans apart from other animals.

Post-Gazette Science Editor Byron Spice researched and wrote this four-part series, with photography by Matt Freed and PG National Bureau photographer Allan Detrich, and illustrations by James Hilston, including "The Building Blocks" graphic primer on DNA above.

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James Hilston - Post-Gazette

Part 4

dot.gif (78 bytes)Creating a 'genobility'
dot.gif (78 bytes)Genes may become big business
dot.gif (78 bytes)Examining genetics through the lens of faith

Part 3

dot.gif (78 bytes)Visiting the doctor in 2010: Genetic tests may change the shape of everyday medicine in the future
dot.gif (78 bytes)Crossing the boundaries
dot.gif (78 bytes)Using genes to spy on infections
dot.gif (78 bytes)Genetic Gap: It may be a hot new field, but few  are being trained in it
dot.gif (78 bytes)Pharmacogenomics: One day, it may allow doctors to tailor drugs to individuals
dot.gif (78 bytes)Genetic technology is expensive now, but that may change
dot.gif (78 bytes)Q & A: Gene therapy

Part 2

dot.gif (78 bytes)Genetic testing can affect relationships with family, employers and insurers
dot.gif (78 bytes)A family struggles with a genetic flaw that can kill by stopping the heart
dot.gif (78 bytes)Test results: When nothing can be done
dot.gif (78 bytes)Test results: Hard choices loomed over a couple's decision to seek prenatal testing
dot.gif (78 bytes)Many genetic tests may turn out to be a mixed blessing

Part 1

dot.gif (78 bytes)Piecing together our future
dot.gif (78 bytes)Genetic artist with an edge
dot.gif (78 bytes)Some members of a family susceptible to a treatable blood-iron disorder reject testing
dot.gif (78 bytes)Q & A: The shape of the future

The latest developments from
The Wire, by the Associated Press

Meet the project team

Additional information about the human genome is available at these Web sites:

Human Genome Project Information - Department of Energy
The Genomics Lexicon -- A glossary

National Human Genome Research Institute
Human Genome Project’s sequencing effort
The Genome Database
A Gene Map of the Human Genome
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Nature Genetics
National Center for Genome Resources
Celera Genomics, a private company performing DNA sequencing, includes genomic news and tutorials.

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