there is news of a major scientific breakthrough that could explain, and change, so many things even the experts have been trying to figure out about our health... why some people get sick, and others don't... and that's just for starters. here's chief science correspondent robert bazell with more.
It's as though after decades of looking at the darkness of space , a fantastic new telescope has revealed vast new galaxies -- allowing us to see millions of undiscovered planets .But this is not about outer space, it is biology -- genes -- ourselves
Francis Collins, director, National Institutes of Health: "This is the first comprehensive look at how the human genome -- that DNA instruction book inside all of out cells -- actually carries out its instructions."
Until now scientists have only concentrated on only a small per cent of our genes that make proteins. They've called the rest "junk DNA, " not understanding their purpose. But today's discoveries show that so-called junk contains millions of switches that turn on and off other genes,
Dr. Mark Gerstein, Yale: "I don't think it is junk anymore. I think it in a sense it might be the gems of the genome-- the most valuable parts of the genome"
The new way of looking at the human genome -- at our DNA-- should reveal what determines a newborn's hair and eye color, height and diseases later in life ranging from Alzheimer's to heart conditions.; It will also give scientists a new road map to find treatments for those and hundreds of other diseases.
This research also solves a great mystery in biology -- how we as humans are so different from other animals when our genes appear to be so very similar
No one can predict when the new understanding will lead to better treatments and cures. But in the history of biology -- the science of understanding ourselves - scientists see this as a revolutionary moment.
Robert Bazell, NBC News, New York.