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DNA change?

Genetics as it applies to evolution, molecular biology, and medical aspects.

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DNA change?

Postby ontherock1 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:30 pm

Humans have the technology to replicate DNA. What's keeping us from manipulating it? Or Changing it in some way? Meaning, for instance, one would not have to use hair coloring to mask one's true hair color, one could actually change their hair color by doing such and such.

I am no biologist so please forgive me if I sound ignorant or foolish.
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Postby mith » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:46 pm

You should read up on gene therapy, that does what you suggested, except it's being used for diseases. Genetic manipulation for cosmetics is grossly narcissistic.
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Postby ontherock1 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:17 pm

mith wrote:You should read up on gene therapy, that does what you suggested, except it's being used for diseases. Genetic manipulation for cosmetics is grossly narcissistic.


I agree. Screwing with DNA for the sole use of changing looks is completely vainand useless. It is much more adventagious if it were used for the betterment of society (curing diseases for example). I was just using hair coloring as an example.
Last edited by ontherock1 on Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby canalon » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:40 pm

besides considering the adavancement of the technology now, you would not really run the risks associated with random DNA insertions (like cancer) just to change hair color ;-)

But in the future, when the technique will improve, I am pretty sure that cosmetic cahnges are going to be high on the list. Considering where the money is. Meaning sadly often more in hands interested in vain pursuits rather than in those working on the betterment of mankind...
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any proof. (Ashley Montague)
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DNA Mutations

Postby D_GILL911 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:05 am

To touch on your question: When it comes to manipulating DNA, we must first determine the proper gene that codes for the characteristic. There are many researches studying the identification of the vast amount of genes. One significant way we have mutated DNA is in the case of an auto immune disease that orginates at birth. This disease affects the maturation of B and T cells. Researches used a virus (Vector) to insert new DNA into the osteocytes that produce the B and T cells. The virus attacked the osteocytes, yet inserted the transformed DNA that coded for normal production of B and T cells. This has saved many lives of young children. The simple manipulation of DNA is no easy process. Any type of mutation can be very dangerous. Hopefully research will grow with time and in the future cancer will be a thing of the past.
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Postby mith » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:29 am

So there are 2 main problems.

1. Traits are usually polygenic, meaning a bunch of genes affect a single trait. So for example, changing one gene to make your muscles bigger might also cause cancer and liver failure. We don't understand enough about the genome yet to know what is being affected.

2. Gene therapy targeting tools are very rudimentary. Currently by changing your viral vectors you can infect specific cells, however there is no way to decide where your gene is being integrated into the chromosomes or which chromosome.

Ideally you want to insert your allele where the gene is, but instead viral integrase just sticks it in more or less randomly.
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