Human Genetic Screening

opinion Essay
2676 words
2676 words

Human Genetic Screening Humans, like all other living organisms, have genes. These genes instruct our bodies to make proteins, these proteins are the molecules that determine the shape and function of each cell. Each gene or set of genes encode for the production of a particular protein.What is a gene ?The term " gene "was created by Wilhelm Johanssen, a Danish botanist in 1911. He was discussing units of inheritance that Mendel called factors.T.H. Morgan's studies on fruit fly genetics led to the idea of a gene as the smallest unit of recombination. Aggregated with this idea was another that said the gene was the unit of mutation, and another that the gene is the unit of function (the smallest unit of control over the phenotype ). Modern evidence suggests that recombination can occur between any two nucleotide, which make the unit of recombination only one nucleotide long . Some mutations change only one nucleotide, so the unit of mutation could be only one nucleotide long . The unit of function is the cistron which is about 900-1500 nucleotide long. So we can identify the gene as the length of DNA that codes for one functional product (6). DNA of the human species carries more or less the same set of DNA with some variations . Variations in the DNA sequence can be neutral, others might have positive or negative influence. Genetic screening is testing of this variation (2). Human race carries 3000-4000 diseases in it's genes, and it is important to distinguish between inherited diseases and infectious diseases. Inherited diseases are caused by mutated genes which are inherited by an individual from his or her parents (2). The faulty gene will be one of the many healthy thousands of genes we possess in our cells. To pinpoint the location of these faulty genes, scientists search for variations in larger piece of DNA called markers, these subunits lie nearby on the DNA chain, and form the basis of genetic screening. What is genetic screening ? The principle of genetic screening is based on the binding of a probe to the DNA molecule of the patient or the person to be screened. Complementary DNA nucleotide sequences bind to each other. The probe used is usually single stranded DNA, which binds to the test sample. The DNA sample can be analyzed by a technique called restriction fragment polymorphism (RFLP). In this technique the DNA sample is cut up with a mixture of restriction enzymes which cut the DNA at a specific sequences.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that genes instruct our bodies to make proteins and determine the shape and function of each cell. the term gene was created by wilhelm johanssen, a danish botanist in 1911.
  • Explains that human dna carries more or less the same set of dna with some variations. variations in the dna sequence can be neutral, others might have positive or negative influence.
  • Explains that human race carries 3000-4000 diseases in its genes, and it is important to distinguish between inherited diseases and infectious diseases. inherited diseases are caused by mutated genes.
  • Explains that genetic screening is based on binding of a probe to the dna molecule of the patient or the person to be screened.
  • Explains that there are two types of genetic screening — screening of children and adults and screening unborn children.
  • Explains that a successful screening program for thalassemia was performed in cyprus with the cooperation of the local church.
  • Explains the second type of genetic screening involving screening of unborn children is called prenatal screening.
  • Explains that preimplantation screening has been used since 1989. evidence suggests that embryos are not harmed by this procedure.
  • Explains that genetic counselors are placed in a powerful position due to the rapid developments in the field of genetic screening.
  • Explains the benefits of genetic screening, such as the screening of newborn children for pku deficiency, which was made compulsory in usa in 1960.
  • Explains that genetic screening works economically, because it is cheaper to treat patients before serious damage is done to them by a genetic disease, than to keep sufferers in institutions.
  • Explains that many common cancers such as lung, breast, and colon develop by step-wise accumulation of mutations affecting many genes. genetic screening may help predicting a cancer and can be used to warn people
  • Explains that the rapid progress in this field during the last decade led to issues of the consequences of new technology, which in many cases have a negative effect on people whose genetic tests reveal that they are under risk of genetic diseases.
  • Explains that carrying a gene for susceptibility, such as the breast cancer gene brca1, does not necessarily mean one will get the disease. geneticists and physicians generally agree that no one should be tested just because of fear of an illness.
  • Predicts a dramatic increase in the amount of patients genetic data, which can affect the choice of spouse, decisions on whether to have children, and prenatal screening and selective abortion.
  • Opines that genetic information can be a great benefit to individuals, but the danger of it becoming available to others could lead to genetic discrimination. recent surveys indicated that health insurance coverage was denied to many people due to their genetic status.
  • Opines that it is ethical to use abortion for some treatable diseases such as pku, which can be treated with dietary measures. genetic screening tests for people with mental diseases lead to unfair labeling of people.
  • Describes the issues that could be discussed about the right of people to have their genetic data confidential.
  • Argues that if we let the parents choose characters for their children, such as being free from the most common genetically inherited diseases, then this might have a harmful effect on social attitudes toward other people who failed to meet such characteristics.
  • Opines that the use of these new techniques raises ethical issues, such as screening embryos for genetic diseases and allowing couples to select the sex of their child.
  • Opines that it is difficult to say a final word about the need to proceed with this kind of research or to stop because this issue is complicated and has different scientific, psychological, economical, emotional, ethical, and religious aspects.
  • Opines that if the application of any new technology leads to negative impacts on the members of the society, it will be unaccepted by the majority.
  • Opines that studies and applications of this technology should proceed because it will have a positive effect in finding the solution for many fatal diseases that affect thousands of people every day.
  • Cites ahfmr news letter, 1995, and biosis home page. macer, d. 1990, shaping genes : ethics, law and science of using new genetic technology
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