The Human Genome Project is a worldwide research effort with the goal of analyzing the structure of human DNA and determining the location of the estimated 100,000 human genes. The DNA of a set of model organisms will be studied to provide the information necessary for understanding the functioning of the human genome. The information gathered by the human genome project is expected to be the source book for biomedical science in the twenty-first century and will be of great value to the field of medicine. The project will help us to understand and eventually treat more than 4,000 genetic diseases that affect mankind. The scientific products of the human genome project will include a resource of genomic maps and DNA sequence information that will provide detailed information about the structure, organization, and characteristics of human DNA, information that constitutes the basic set of inherited "instructions" for the development and functioning of a human being. .
The Human Genome Project began in the mid 1980's and was widely examined within the scientific community and public press through the last half of that decade. In the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) initially, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) soon after, were the main research agencies within the US government responsible for developing and planning the project. By 1988, the two agencies were working together, an association that was formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to "coordinate research and technical activities related to the human genome". The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) was established in 1989 to head the human genome project for the NIH. NCHGR is one of twenty-four institutes, centers, or divisions that make up the NIH, the federal government's main agency for the support of biomedical research. At least sixteen countries have established Human Genome Projects.