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Human genome

The complete sequence of all 20,000-25,000 human genes. That is, which chromosomes they are in and whereabouts the gene appears on that chromosome's piece of DNA.

Glossary

A list of often difficult or specialised words with their definitions.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid. This is the molecule which contains the genetic code. It coils up tightly inside chromosomes. DNA is a double helix made from two strands which are joined together by pairs of bases.

Learning from the past

Primitive humans called upon supernatural spirits to heal their sick while modern medicine relies on science. DNA and research has replaced spirits and shaman.

Looking at the history of medicine shows how ideas have developed over the centuries. Medieval barbers were the forerunners of today's skilled surgeons and the ancient Greeks set the foundations for modern diagnostic techniques. Leonardo da Vinci was amongst the first to dissect the human body to learn how it works. Medical students still learn about anatomy in the same way.

Today's medicine has evolved over thousands of years as each generation built on the knowledge of earlier times. This will continue to happen. Our understanding of the human genome will lead to fresh treatments and new discoveries may open the door to unimagined advances in medicine.

You can use the interactive timeline (a Flash animation) or the links below to look at the following periods of time:

Contents

Timeline

How to use this site

There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

  • A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted like this.
  • Quick questions: at the end of most pages or sections there is a question or set of quick questions to test your understanding.
  • Animations: most of the animations can be expanded to full screen size, ideal for showing on an interactive whiteboard. The animations will play all the way through or can be viewed one section at a time.
  • Downloads: Teachers can download individual diagrams, animations and other content from the Download Library area of the website. Terms and Conditions apply.