2. Human Genome Mapped
Coiled up inside every human cell sit 23 molecules that, if unwound and placed end to end, would stretch about three feet. Those molecules, known as chromosomes, contain all the instructions necessary to build an entire human being.
It took more than 10 years and an international collaboration of scientists, but the year 2000 saw a rough draft of the entire human genome, followed by a completed version in 2003.
The publicly funded Human Genome Project and its private competitor, Celera Genomics, constitutes one of the largest scientific endeavors in history, one that revealed in intimate detail just what makes up a human being.
With the information from individual genome maps, scientists can uncover new clues about everything from a person's body odor to mental disease.
Since decoding the human genome, dozens of other species have had their genomes sequenced, including pigs, dogs, bees, mosquitoes, puffer fish, chimpanzees, yeast, corn, and rice. With these maps in hand, scientists can and will discover new ways to heal diseases or improve crop yields.