Cracking the Code of Life

Cracking the Code of Life is a program that covers information on the Human Genome Project and the role of DNA in determining characteristics of an individual organism. DNA is a molecule that encodes genetic information that is passed down from parent to offspring. chromosomes-154668_150The sequence of nitrogenous bases of DNA encodes the instructions for protein assembly, which affects many physical, mental, and emotion characteristics of an organism. How close are we to knowing the base sequences of human DNA? The Human Genome project was a project completed in 2003 that aimed to map the entire human genome, which includes these base sequences. Members of the scientific community rushed to be the first to complete the entire human genome. The old process of gene mapping involved writing down the sequences by hand, which was time consuming and probably led to multiple errors. Computer technology revolutionized gene mapping by making the process go a lot faster. The success of this project has allowed scientists to determine the specific sequence changes that are responsible for the onset of a disease. Knowing what changes in the sequence that causes diseases is important in finding a cure for the specific disease.

One particularly devastating disease that this program talked about was Tay-Sachs disease, which involves the death of nerve cells throughout dna-163466_150the body that leads to inability to preform basic functions. The disease is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder, meaning that both parents must give a mutated copy of the gene to their offspring in order for the offspring to have the disease. Most people do not know that they carry this mutated gene, as carriers do not display symptoms of the disease. The disease commonly appears in the early stages of life, but can appear in adulthood as well. The disease is invariably fatal, which could soon be changed by the research that has been preformed to create gene therapy to treat the disease. The disease has a heartbreaking nature, but mapping the human genome is one step closer to curing the disease.

The program was very helpful in learning more about this project and how its results can be used to cure diseases. Scientists have come a long way as far as understanding the molecule of DNA and genetics. The next step involves understanding more about different changes in base sequences affects an individual. Also, with scientific advancement come tough, personal questions. The particular question that I find most intriguing is: would you want to know if you had a likelihood of getting a disease, evenif there was no cure for that particular disease? Tell me below in the polls. To watch this program, click here: Cracking the Code of Life


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