Microbiology

Genetics Dna Profiling



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We are on the brink of a DNA revolution. A revolution that will reveal your genetic code and give you insight into how your life will pan out. We are all at the mercy of out DNA -the code that makes us who we are. We have no control over this code and there is no way to know if we are lucky or whether we are simply playing on borrowed time.

The biggest issue is that we have never before been able to look at what hand has been dealt to us. A growing number of companies have been popping up and they are able to give you a glimpse of your genetic make-up. This will give you insight into which diseases or illnesses you are prone to get. These claims are controversial because we are really only in the beginning stages of truly understanding DNA. Just because you may be susceptible to a certain disease, it does not mean that you may inherit it. There are other factors that must be taken into consideration, such as lifestyle and environment.

Let's examine the test sequence and then take a look at how DNA profiling could affect future generations. First, a sample is taken from the cells of your cheek, using a long cotton swab. You have to rub the swab against your cheeks 15-20 times. Usually, two separate swabs are taken to ensure that there is a good DNA sample.

At the lab the chemical broke down the cells to release the DNA. This was placed in a testing tray along with an enzyme that helped to replicate the genetic material-making it easier to identify SNP's. Different markers were added to the wells in the tray-each testing for a different SNP.

The tray is then placed in a genetic sequence. This device contains a light source which encourages markers to glow. Crucial markers will only glow if it has been able to attach to the SNP it tests for. It the SNP isn't present then the market doesn't glow.

The genetic sequencer fed information to the computer, plotting a number of graphs revealing which markers glowed and which information didn't. An expert has to interpret this information and predict how an SNP can influence someone's health in the future.

So how accurate are tests that predict diseases? First, it depends on the accuracy of the data. You have to be able to understand what the data means. Genetic analysis will have a big impact on our knowledge of bipolar genes, schizophrenia genes and autism genes. We're at a crossroads and genetic testing is allowing us to provide patients with quality, accurate information where predictions, diagnosis and treatment are generated by your genetic makeup.

As well as indicating whether you may suffer from certain conditions and diseases, your genetic makeup might also influence how effective medications will be. Your genetic code may not have certain receptors so a medicine may not be able to bind and have an affect on you.

So how exactly might future generations be discriminated against on the basis on their DNA? In the future persons that are considered genetically superior may in fact be selected only for certain jobs. Persons that are susceptible to disease and lower intelligence will be selected for only menial jobs. An employer could find out exactly who they are hiring, if genetic links with personality traits are discovered, which is very likely. At birth, a select number of genetic tests are conducted looking for diseases. In the future, a full spectrum of tests could take place in which doctors will be able to determine genetic links to disease, physical ability and even psychological characteristics. An Australian company is already offering the first genetic test which could indicate whether you would make a good sprinter or not. It will be very important to have strict protocols in place to protect the way that DNA is used in the future.

Your genetic information is very valuable and will become more valuable in the future. Let's say that your insurance company got wind that you might have a potential heart condition. How much is your life insurance going to cost you or health insurance for that matter? Our DNA can lead to us being discriminated against in all facets of our lives. The sheer volume of research being conducted is staggering. More genetic links will be found to more and more conditions. It also seems highly likely that predictive tests will become more prevalent- if not the norm. There are enormous questions that need to be asked and society needs to discuss what we should do with this knowledge and how it will be applied to individuals in society. It is necessary to protect those that will be the most vulnerable, those who may not come from good genetic stock.

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