The greatest innovation in the field of genetics has to be the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953. Their realisation of the digital basis of genetic information and the mechanism of inheritance created the potential for many further discoveries. These have included the human genome project, an enormous research undertaking that has enabled increasing progress in identifying the genetic basis to thousands of disorders.
Developments in technology look set to make high speed low cost genetic testing a possibility in the future. The discovery of the specific mutations for particular diseases help to identify the pathogenic pathways and create the possibility of new interventions based upon these. It is now possible to manufacture human gene products such as human factor V111, and human insulin and other gene products are likely to follow.
Many developments in treatment draw on an understanding of DNA from the hepatitis B vaccine or trastuzumba (Herceptin). In the future, stem cell treatments may revolutionise health care by providing a potential source for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease. All of these developments are based upon the initial identification of the structure of DNA.