What is the Point of Gene Research?

Mankind and especially scientists have always been inquisitive. Long ago they explored the elements and how they made up the universe. As that has slowly been solved, these scientists instead turned toward humans and what they are made up of.

This inquisitiveness and the discovery of DNA has created the field of genetics. Our genes are the building blocks that create our DNA and genetic code. It seems that recently there have been some vast advances in determining what individual genes are responsible for. There are many diseases and disorders that are caused by an incorrect or incomplete gene. These genes are called mutations.

Our genetic codes are telling us more than ever. Many people are getting individual tests done on their DNA. These tests give an insight into their potential future health risks and diseases that may be lurking there in the genetic code.

Genetic Testing

There are many companies that will now test a person’s DNA for a price. These tests are partially for entertainment and curiosity and partly for potential medical information. The best answer if people are concerned about potential disease is still seeing and talking to a doctor or medical professional.

Most of these tests are not a replacement for medical advice or attention. What they can be used as is a bit of a warning. Just because someone has a gene that suggests they have a predisposition for a disease doesn’t mean they are going to get it. However it can be a bit of a wake up call. People may choose to start taking better care of themselves as a result of a DNA test and a potential worry about what the future might hold.

Cancer Genetics

Many people talk about “the causes of cancer”. The truth is that generally cancer chances come down to genetics and potential gene mutations. Unlike some other diseases, cancer doesn’t need one gene to be missing or mutated. It tends to be many different genes that have small imperfections.  

Research in cancer genetics continues and tests are better able to determine the likelihood that someone may have to deal with cancer as their life progresses.

Mutation

The concept of mutation can be a bit overblown sometimes. Because of science fiction and popular culture, people hear mutation and they think of mutants and super powers and other ridiculous things like that.

The truth is that mutation just means that certain genes are not exactly as expected. If these genes are responsible for certain parts of a person’s health, the potential is there for a genetic disorder. There are different types of genetic disorders.

Monogenetic disorders happen when just a single gene. There are quite a few of these genetic disorders. Sickle Cell disease and cystic fibrosis are two examples that are fairly well known. This can happen on either chromosome of the person and be inherited from either parent.

There are also multifactorial inheritance disorders. These gene disorders aren’t caused by a specific gene, but small issues with multiple genes. These tend towards issues like cancers and diabetes. There’s even the chance that people with these genes still won’t have to deal with the problems if there are no environmental triggers.

The final type are chromosome disorders. These are missing an entire chromosome or have chromosomes transposed. Down syndrome is likely the most well known chromosome disorder.

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