In 2003, the Human Genome Project completed a basic “map” of the human genome—the entire sequence of the DNA found in each of our cells, all the biological information required to make us who we are. This landmark scientific project gave us not only the sequence of the three billion chemical base pairs that make up our genome, but also new, advanced genomic technologies that are radically changing the way biomedical research is being conducted. The LGRC is using these technologies to study chronic lung disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung disease (ILD).
Our work builds on the fact that the DNA in each of our cells encodes the blueprints for the building blocks of our bodies—proteins. Although the DNA sequence of any two people is more than 99% identical, the small differences that do exist help define our physical traits (or phenotype), including our susceptibility to disease.
The genomic data being gathered by the LGRC will allow the lung research and medical communities to:
• identify people at greater risk of developing chronic lung diseases;
• diagnose conditions earlier;
• determine the causes of these diseases on a genetic or molecular level; and
• tailor treatments to an individual’s unique genetic makeup.