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Genetic Testing

Essay by   •  November 3, 2010  •  1,453 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,596 Views

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Technological advances during the last couple of decades have changed the way people view life. With the massive amount of technology that we have today many people may think that a God probably does not exist at all! Modern science today is at a new stage were almost anything, if not everything, is possible. We are at a point were humans can create their own species. It's "almost" to the point were we can make a "carbon copy" of ourselves. Some people feel that genetics raises both high hopes and serious concerns. Genetic testing has the possibility of saving a lot of lives through prevention or early detection, but the implications of test results are gargantuan, not only for the individual but also for relatives who share this genetic legacy, and for society as a whole.

Genetics is the study of the function and behavior of genes. Genes are bits of biochemical instructions found inside the cells of every organism from bacteria to humans. Genetic information is encoded and transmitted from generation to generation in deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA. DNA is a chemical information database that carries the complete set of instructions for making all the proteins a cell will ever need. Each gene contains a particular set of instructions, or coding for a particular protein. DNA is a coiled molecule organized into structures called chromosomes within cells. DNA exists as two long, paired strands spiraled into the famous double helix. Each strand is made up of millions of chemical building blocks called bases. While there are only four different chemical bases in

DNA (adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine), the order in which the bases occur determines

The information available. (Encarta 2004)

DNA is located in the nucleus of each of the body's trillions of cells. Every human cell contains the same DNA. Each cell has 46 molecules of double-stranded DNA. Each molecule is made up of 50 to 250 million bases housed in a chromosome. Human cells contain two sets of chromosomes, one set inherited from the mother and one from the father. Each set has 23 single chromosomes (22 autosomes and an X or Y sex chromosome). Females inherit an X from each parent, while males get an X from the mother and a Y from the father. (Understanding Gene Testing)

Some genes enable cells to make proteins needed for basic functions, they are active in many types of cells. Some genes play a role in early development of the embryo and are then shut down forever. A normal cell activates just the genes it needs at the moment and suppresses the rest.

Diseases are found in all shapes, places and sizes. They are everywhere! "Human beings have on the order of 100,000 different genes, instructions written into our DNA for production of the proteins we use to organize and direct every aspect of our biological existence. Believe it or not most of diseases have their roots in our genes. There are more than 4,000 diseases that are thought to stem from mutated genes inherited from one's mother or father". (The New Healers) The most common gene mistake involves a single changed base in the DNA. Other defects are the loss or gain of a base. Sometimes long segments of DNA are multiplied or disappear. The outcome of a mutation depends on how vital that particular protein is to survival. (Grolier 2004)

Gene mutations can be inherited from a parent or acquired. When they are inherited from

parents they are called hereditary mutation or germ line mutations. That means that the mutation

is present in the DNA of basically all of the body cells, and can be passed on from generation to

generation. When the gene mutation is acquired it is called

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