Medical Technology

Artificial Selection and its Application to Medicine



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What is a selection? Who is responsible for the selection? What can be selected? These are the questions that we ask ourselves when we think about this subject. The selection is a process and the term was first introduced by Darwin. He identified the natural selection and the artificial selection. Gr Mendel was the one who identified how the inheritance of the characters works even if he didn't know about the genes and about the DNA which is the material responsible for the characters.

The human been has always tried to discover new things to improve the life style or to search for the secret of "life without death". In the most cases the inspiration comes from the nature, which is the best inventor. The artificial selection is the natural selection controlled by the human species for different purposes. For example which gardener hasn't tried to select his best vegetables?

Now there are scientists who try to control the selection process using mechanisms more complicated for bigger modifications. In the past people selected unconscious different organisms ( plants, animals) with better qualities to promote better characters for those organisms. Now researchers can select and modify different microorganisms (ex. bacteria), or even different cells to produce certain substance (hormones, antibodies, antibiotics etc.) in certain quantities to treat different diseases.

One of the greatest discoveries in medicine is the discovery of the insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas which controls blood sugar. At people with diabetes this hormone doesn't work properly and they need it to survive. Researchers have found ways to produce insulin using pancreas from animals or modified cells.

In this century the discovery of the stem cells plays an important role. These cells have a remarkable property to develop into many different cell types in the body. In the future these cells could be used to replace different cells or organs destroyed by a disease. It is a new hope for people with incurable diseases and it seems that it is investing in this direction.

Using what Darwin and Mendel had identified with our technology and knowledge we could find many answers we are looking for. But who knows where these all will lead to.

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More about this author: Mihaela Patrichi

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