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

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Post by SMstudent » Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:25 pm

Hi! im currently in AP BIOLOGY and we have to write a paper on genetic engineering, my more direct topic is genetic engineering in relation to disease prevention. Since you guys all seem so brilliant i was wondering if you could help me out. we have to include opinions of hte public and of professionals. So if you have ANY information on the topic if you emailed it to me i would really love it! lol and any sites at whihc you know there are alot of polls and opinions of genetic engineering for disease and just any information whatsoever!! thank you soo much!! please feel free to email me at : *

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Post by Nithin » Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:18 pm

Primary prevention of human disease in the context of medical genetics refers to the prevention of the disease entity for which the gene or genes in question play a role. How can that occur? While gene therapy may become appropriate to correct certain deficient gene products leading to human disease, primary prevention of many multifactorial human disease will entail understanding and interruption of the environmental cofactors among individuals who inherit genetic susceptibility (polymorphisms or disease mutations). Phenylalanine and iron in the diet have been mentioned for PKU and hereditary hemochromatosis. However, for most human genes including BRCA1 (in relation to breast cancer), and Apo E-E4 (in relation to Alzheimer disease) , such cofactors are still poorly understood and a lot of epidemiologic work needs to be done in various populations in order to target prevention.

We need to refine our approach to defining and labeling genetic diseases. If we accept the basic premise that genes cause human diseases, it may make a lot of sense to stop labeling a disease as genetic or not. For example, this approach will lead to labeling hereditary hemochromatosis as an iron overload disorder resulting from the interaction between an inherited abnormality in iron transport and iron intake. Using the same approach, breast cancer in some individuals could result from the interaction between an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 gene and yet to be described cofactor(s). The parallel between genetic diseases and infectious disease is such that the concept of prevention and control that may be acceptable in the context of infectious agents is totally unacceptable in the context of genetic conditions. As Francis Collins simply puts it, "We're all at risk for something" [Beardsley, 1996]. This ultimate and powerful realization could be the driving force in medicine, public health and society at large to accept once and for all our genetic makeup and direct our focus and attention to the prevention of human disease and suffering by targeting our disease prevention strategies to modifiable risk factors (e.g. dietary factors) according to each and everyone's unique biologic susceptibilities. Such a realization could also be the engine that drives the much needed reform in our health care system

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