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In search of the Holy Grail: Reading Answers

Academic Test 4 – Passage 03: In search of the holy grail reading answers with location, explanation and pdf summary.

In search of the holy grail

It has been called the Holy Grail of modern biology. Costing more than £2 billion, it is the most ambitious scientific project since the Apollo programme that landed a man on the moon. And it will take longer to accomplish than the lunar missions, for it will not be complete until early next century. Even before it is finished, according to those involved, this project should open up new understanding of, and new treatments for, many of the ailments that afflict humanity. As a result of the Human Genome Project, there will be new hope of liberation from the shadows of cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and some psychiatric illnesses.

The objective of the Human Genome Project is simple to state, but audacious in scope: to map and analyse every single gene within the double helix of humanity’s DNA1. The project will reveal a new human anatomy — not the bones, muscles and sinews, but the complete genetic blueprint for a human being. Those working on the Human Genome Project claim that the new genetical anatomy will transform medicine and reduce human suffering in the twenty-first century. But others see the future through a darker glass, and fear that the project may open the door to a world peopled by Frankenstein’s monsters and disfigured by a new eugenics2.

The genetic inheritance a baby receives from its parents at the moment of conception fixes much of its later development, determining characteristics as varied as whether it will have blue eyes or suffer from a life- threatening illness such as cystic fibrosis. The human genome is the compendium of all these inherited genetic instructions. Written out along the double helix of DNA are the chemical letters of the genetic text, it is an extremely long text, for the human genome contains more than 3 billion letters:

On the printed page it would fill about 7,000 volumes. Yet, within little more than a decade, the position of every letter and its relation to its neighbours will have been tracked down, analysed and recorded.

Considering how many letters there are in the human genome, nature is an excellent proof-reader. But sometimes there are mistakes. An error in a single ‘word’ — a gene – can give rise to the crippling condition of cystic fibrosis, the commonest genetic disorder among Caucasians. Errors in the genetic recipe for haemoglobin, the protein that gives blood its characteristic red colour and which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, give rise to the most common single gene disorder in the world: thalassaemia. More than 4,000 such single-gene defects are known to afflict humanity.

The majority of them are fatal; the majority of the victims are children.

None of the single-gene disorders is a disease in the conventional sense, for which it would be possible to administer a curative drug: the defect is pre-programmed into every cell of the sufferer’s body. But there is hope of progress. In 1986,. American researchers identified the genetic defect underlying one type of muscular dystrophy. In 1989, a team of American and Canadian biologists announced that they had found the site of the gene which, when defective, gives rise to cystic fibrosis. Indeed, not only had they located the gene, they had analysed the sequence of letters within it and had identified the mistake responsible for the condition. At the least, these scientific advances may offer a way of screening parents who might be at risk of transmitting a single-gene defect to any children that they conceive. Foetuses can be tested while in the womb, and if found free of the genetic defect, the parents will be relieved of worry and stress, knowing that they will be delivered of a baby free from the disorder.

In the mid-1980s, the idea gained currency within the scientific world that the techniques which were successfully deciphering disorder-related genes could be applied to a larger project: if science can learn the genetic spelling of cystic fibrosis, why not attempt to find out how to spell ‘human’? Momentum quickly built up behind the Human Genome Project and its objective of ‘sequencing’ the entire genome – writing out all the letters in their correct order.

But the consequences of the Human Genome Project go far beyond a narrow focus on disease. Some of its supporters have made claims of great extravagance – that the Project will bring us to understand, at the most fundamental level, what it is to be human. Yet many people are concerned that such an emphasis on humanity’s genetic constitution may distort our sense of values, and lead us to forget that human life is more than just the expression of a genetic program written in the chemistry of DNA.

If properly applied, the new knowledge generated by the Human Genome Project may free humanity from the terrible scourge of diverse diseases. But if the new knowledge is not used wisely, it also holds the threat of creating new forms of discrimination and new methods of oppression. Many characteristics, such as height and intelligence, result not from the action of genes alone, but from subtle interactions between genes and the environment. What would be the implications if humanity were to understand, with precision, the genetic constitution which, given the same environment, will predispose one person towards a higher intelligence than another individual whose genes were differently shuffled?

Once before in this century, the relentless curiosity of scientific researchers brought to light forces of nature in the power of the atom, the mastery of which has shaped the destiny of nations and overshadowed all our lives. The Human Genome Project holds the promise that, ultimately, we may be able to alter our genetic inheritance if we so choose. But there is the central moral problem: how can we ensure that when we choose, we choose correctly? That such a potential is a promise and not a threat? We need only look at the past to understand the danger.

———-

Glossary

DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid, molecules responsible for the transference of genetic characteristics.

2 eugenics The science of improving the qualities of the human race, especially the careful selection of parents.

Questions 27-32

Complete the sentences below (Questions 27-32) with words taken from Reading Passage 3. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS OR A NUMBER for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

27. The passage compares the Project in scale to the ………………………. .

28. The possible completion date of the Project is ………………………. .

29. To write out the human genome on paper would require ………………………. books.

30. A genetic problem cannot be treated with drugs because strictly speaking it is not a ………………………. .

31. Research into genetic defects had its first success in the discovery of the cause of one form of ………………………. .

32. The second success of research into genetic defects was to find the cause of ………………………. .

Questions 33-40

Classify the following statements as representing:

A the writer’s fears about the Human Genome Project

B other people’s fears about the Project reported by the writer

C the writer’s reporting of facts about the Project

D the writer’s reporting of the long-term hopes for the Project

Write the appropriate letters A-D in boxes 33-40 on your answer sheet.

33. The Project will provide a new understanding of major diseases.

34. All the components which make up DNA are to be recorded and studied.

35. Genetic monsters may be created.

36. The correct order and inter-relation of all genetic data in all DNA will be mapped.

37. Parents will no longer worry about giving birth to defective offspring.

38. Being ‘human’ may be defined solely in terms of describable physical data.

39. People may be discriminated against in new ways.

40. From past experience humans may not use this new knowledge wisely.

Answers with Explanation

Check out In search of the holy grail reading answers with explanation below:

SENTENCE COMPLETION

QuestionAnswer Explanation
27. The passage compares the Project in scale to the ………………………. .Underline keywords: passage, compares, the Project, in scale    

In the paragraph 1, in lines 1-7, the author says, “It has been called the Holy Grail of modern biology. Costing more than £2 billion, it is the most ambitious scientific project since the Apollo programme that landed a man on the moon____.”

In this text, it is the most ambitious scientific project since means that ➙ compares the Project in scale to

Hence, the answer is going to be: Apollo programme
28. The possible completion date of the Project is ………………………. .Underline keywords: possible completion date    

In the paragraph 1, in lines 8-12, the author describes, “ _____And it will take longer to accomplish than the lunar missions, for it will not be complete until early next century. _____.”

In this text, it will not be complete until means that ➙ possible completion

Hence, the answer is going to be: (early) next century
29. To write out the human genome on paper would require ………………………. books.Underline keywords: write out, human genome, on paper, require, books    

In the paragraph 3, in lines 16-20, the author says, “It is an extremely long text, for the human genome contains more than 3 billion letters: On the printed page it would fill about 7,000 volumes_____.”

In this text, On the printed page it would fill means that ➙To write out the human genome on paper would require
&
volumes means that ➙ books

Hence, the answer is going to be: 7,000
30. A genetic problem cannot be treated with drugs because strictly speaking it is not a ………………………. .Underline keywords: a genetic problem, cannot be treated, with drugs    

In the paragraph 5, look at the first few lines, the author describes, “None of the single-gene disorders is a disease in the conventional sense, for which it would be possible to administer a curative drug____.”

In this text, single-gene disorders means that ➙ genetic problem

Hence, the answer is going to be: disease
31. Research into genetic defects had its first success in the discovery of the cause of one form of ………………………. .Underline keywords: research, genetic defects, first success, discovery, cause of, one form of     

In the paragraph 5, in lines 9-13, the author says, “____ In 1986, American researchers identified the genetic defect underlying one type of muscular dystrophy_____.”

In this text, identified means that ➙ first success in the discovery
&
genetic defect underlying one type of means that ➙ the cause of one form of

Hence, the answer is going to be: muscular dystrophy
32. The second success of research into genetic defects was to find the cause of ………………………. .Underline keywords: second success, research into genetic defects, find, cause of      

In the paragraph 5, in lines 13-19, the author says, “____In 1989, a team of American and Canadian biologists announced that they had found the site of the gene which, when defective, gives rise to cystic fibrosis. _______”

In this text, In 1989, a team of American and Canadian biologists announced means that ➙ The second success of research
&
gene ______when defective means that ➙ genetic defects,

Hence, the answer is going to be: cystic fibrosis

GROUP CLASSIFICATION

QuestionAnswer Explanation
33. The Project will provide a new understanding of major diseases.Underline keywords: the Project, new understanding, major diseases

In the paragraph 1, the author explains, “____ Even before it is finished, according to those involved, this project should open up new understanding of, and new treatments for, many of the ailments that afflict humanity. As a result of the Human Genome Project, there will be new hope of liberation from the shadows of cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and some psychiatric illnesses.____”

In this text, new understanding of, and new treatments for, many of the ailments means that ➙ new understanding of major diseases
&
there will be new hope means that ➙ long-term hopes for the Project

Hence, the answer is going to be: D 
34. All the components which make up DNA are to be recorded and studied.Underline keywords: all the components, make up DNA, to be recorded and studied      

Look at the ending lines of paragraph 3, “ ____Yet, within little more than a decade, the position of every letter and its relation to its neighbours will have been tracked down, analysed and recorded.”

In this text, the position of every letter and its relation to its neighbours means that ➙ All the components which make up DNA
&
will have been tracked down, analysed and recorded means that ➙ are to be recorded and studied

Hence, the answer is going to be: C 
35. Genetic monsters may be created.Underline keywords: genetic monsters, may be created      

Look at the ending lines of paragraph 2, the writer says, “ ___ But others see the future through a darker glass, and fear that the project may open the door to a world peopled by Frankenstein’s monsters and disfigured by a new eugenics.”

In this text, others see the future through a darker glass, and fear means that ➙ other people’s fear
&
may open the door to a world peopled by Frankenstein’s monsters and disfigured by a new eugenics means that ➙ Genetic monsters may be created

Hence, the answer is going to be: B
36. The correct order and inter-relation of all genetic data in all DNA will be mapped. Underline keywords: correct order, inter-relation, all genetic data, all DNA, will be mapped

Look at the ending lines of paragraph 6, “____ Momentum quickly built up behind the Human Genome Project and its objective of ‘sequencing’ the entire genome – writing out all the letters in their correct order.”

In this text, writing out all the letters in their correct order means that ➙ The correct order and inter-relation of all genetic data in all DNA

Hence, the answer is going to be: C
37. Parents will no longer worry about giving birth to defective offspring.Underline keywords: parents, will no longer worry, giving birth, defective offspring

Look at the ending lines of paragraph 5, the author says, “___At the least, these scientific advances may offer a way of screening parents who might be at risk of transmitting a single-gene defect to any children that they conceive.  Foetuses can be tested while in the womb, and if found free of the genetic defect, the parents will be relieved of worry and stressknowing that they will be delivered of a baby free from the disorder.”

In this text, the parents will be relieved of worry and stress, knowing that they will be delivered of a baby free from the disorder means that ➙ Parents will no longer worry about giving birth to defective offspring
&
these scientific advances may offer a way means that ➙ the writer’s reporting of the long-term hopes,

Hence, the answer is going to be: D
38. Being ‘human’ may be defined solely in terms of describable physical data.Underline keywords: being ‘human’, may be defined, solely, describable physical data

In the paragraph 6, “In the mid-1980s, the idea gained currency within the scientific world that the techniques which were successfully deciphering disorder-related genes could be applied to a larger project: if science can learn the genetic spelling of cystic fibrosis, why not attempt to find out how to spell ‘human’?___.”

In this text, the idea gained currency within the scientific world means that ➙ other people’s fears about the Project
&
why not attempt to find out how to spell ‘human’ means that ➙ Being ‘human’ may be defined solely in terms of describable physical data

Hence, the answer is going to be: B
39. People may be discriminated against in new ways.Underline keywords: people, may be discriminated, new ways 

Look at the first few lines of paragraph 8, “____But if the new knowledge is not used wisely, it also holds the threat of creating new forms of discrimination and new methods of oppression____.”

In this text, it also holds the threat means that ➙ the writer’s fears
&
creating new forms of discrimination and new methods of oppression means that ➙ People may be discriminated against in new ways

Hence, the answer is going to be: A
40. From past experience humans may not use this new knowledge wisely.Underline keywords: past experience, may not use, new knowledge 

Look at the ending lines of the last paragraph, the author says, “____ But there is the central moral problem: how can we ensure that when we choose, we choose correctly? That such a potential is a promise and not a threat? We need only look at the past to understand the danger.___”

In this text, there is the central moral problem means that ➙ the writer’s fears
&
We need only look at the past to understand the danger means that ➙ From past experience humans may not use this new knowledge wisely

Hence, the answer is going to be: A

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