Remember the Human Genome Project? Look What’s Next
How the Human Cell Atlas will lead to healthy longevity
Ric Edelman: We've talked about the human genome before. The Human Genome Project began back in 1990. It has now mapped the entire genome. It took 30 years, cost $3 billion, but now you can do it in two weeks for about $300. Well, that was pretty easy, if you think about it, because there are only 24 sorts of chromosomes in our DNA, yet it still took 30 years and $3 billion to do it once. But now we've solved that puzzle.
So what's next? Welcome to the Human Cell Atlas where the human body has 24 chromosomes. It's got 37 trillion cells. And now 2,700 researchers from 1,500 institutions in 86 countries are busy looking at lots of those cells. So far, they've collected 15,000 samples from 10,000 donors and they've gathered data on 120 million cells. They're adding another 120 million cells about every five months. Now, they don't have to count every cell in the body, 37 trillion. That would take a long time. What they figured out is that really, of all the tens of trillions of cells, they all just fall into a few categories. How many categories? Well, they're not sure.
Back in 2016, they thought there were about 300 categories. But so far, the Human Cell Atlas has identified thousands of cell categories. And they're not done. They're still finding new ones. Different organs have different numbers of cell types. They found 3,000 different cell types in the brain. 137 in the gut so far. And each organ in the Human Cell Atlas also has its own sub-atlas classification.
And here, get this, they plan to have a first draft of the full atlas in just two years. Already, the research has transformed what we know about cystic fibrosis, and that has changed the direction of cystic fibrosis research. Discoveries by the gut cell atlas have resulted in new targets for drug treatment to fight inflammatory bowel disease. And as you'd expect, the cancer cell atlas is going to lead to new immunotherapy treatments. The cell atlases are going to lead to cell engineering testing of drugs to see their effects on different cell types and the design of organoids, which are small parts of actual organs that will permit experiments that we can't really conduct on real people.
The Human Cell Atlas is a major leap forward, just like the Human Genome Project was. That one took decades and billions of dollars. This one is merely a few years and under $1 billion in cost, thanks to advances in computer technology. The result of all this? Ultimately, it's going to lead to eradication of disease and the extension of healthy life.
Is your financial plan ready for this? Well, one way you can make sure it is by taking a look at the Global X Genomics and Biotech ETF. The symbol is GNOM for genome. This ETF invests in companies that are working on genomic sequencing and genetic medicines and therapeutics, things like gene editing, genetic medicine and therapy, computational genomics and biotechnology.
Take a strong look at this. You can get the information on the Global X Genomics and Biotech ETF at GlobalXETFs.com or talk with your financial advisor about it.
Hey, be sure to tune in to this podcast on Friday, April 21st when I’m going to be talking with Del Wright, Professor of Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Del has been a leading teacher and researcher focusing on tax law, crypto assets and the regulation of blockchain technologies. I'm going to have a really fascinating conversation with him about his expertise in those areas.
Whether you're in finance, whether you're an investor or just interested in learning more about crypto and its regulation, this podcast is a must listen and if you are crypto curious, be sure to read my new book, The Truth About Crypto, the number one Amazon bestseller. Here's a review from verified reader, Todd. "This was not a pump and dump where the author wanted us all to buy bitcoin and so he could sell his. It's a wide-ranging balanced view of digital assets. He covers the technology, the Bitcoin network, investing in digital assets, NFTs and getting started. Pretty much everything you need to know to get your foot in the digital asset door." Thanks, Todd, for that review. Be like him. Pick up my new book, The Truth About Crypto, from your favorite bookseller.