Genome Opening of a New Life


Genome Opening of a New Life

Genome- Opening of a New Life

Besides stumbling on to new sights about what human beings are made up of, the latest findings on the nature of the human genome have thrown a few old ideas out of the window. The human genome shows that humans all over the world share more than 99.9 per cent of DNA, the molecule that is the building block of life. More diversity can be found between two individuals in the same population than between two different groups. Research conducted by Dr. Craig Venter, who selected five individuals from different racial backgrounds, showed that there was no way of telling the different races from each other. Many human functions like the ability to metabolise alcohol, cannot be explained by human evolution. Unfurling the human genome shows that hundreds of genes have been directly 'imported' from bacteria to make such functions possible. This just goes to prove that elementary cellular functions have stayed more or less the same since the evolution of the single- celled yeast or bacteria.

According to the old school of thought, once the human genome is mapped out, it would be relatively easy to identify each gene whose sole responsibility was to manufacture say, insulin, in the case of a diabetic person, and all that would then need to be done was to 'tweak' that particular gene to set everything right. Similarly there were genes for other ailments - asthma, alcoholism, depression and the rest.

But a number of findings on the Human Genome Project have made scientists sit up and take notice. None of these findings have changed perceptions as much as the discovery that genes function more like networks, rather than a single entity producing specific proteins. This could explain why despite the low gene count in humans (about 31,000), they end up being more sophisticated life forms with many more functions than other organisms that have a gene count of 100,000. There are genes that carry out sophisticated management tasks like setting other genes into action. The thing that differentiates humans from other organisms is that through evolution, humans have added more 'control genes', effectively increasing the variety of genes that cannot control other genes. The one gene-one function concept has been shattered. Instead, there is a whole genetic community working in different ways, forming various 'architectures' to produce proteins.

Added to this more complex picture of genomes are cropping- up things that do not fit the jigsaw. For instance, genes themselves occupy only 1.1 per cent of chromosomal space, whereas the rest had been written off as 'junk' only used for genetic finger printing and little else. However, scientists are now evincing more interest in the 'junk' and think that it could have a role in unfolding the story of evolution. Now it is up to researchers to understand this complex set of instructions and the relationship between individual genes and finally come up with the way humans actually work and design drugs that will keep the body shipshape - from the' gene level up' . So the chunks of human genome are being matched to diseases, even to the increased potential for tuberculosis or cancer. As the real relationship between a person's proteins and genes is understood, modem medicine is poised for a revolution.

<span style="\"font-size:11.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";" mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:="" minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:"times="" new="" roman";="" mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language:en-us;mso-fareast-language:="" en-us;mso-bidi-language:ar-sa\"="" lang="\"EN-US\"">Medicine used to be a hit or miss. Not for long anymore. Science can aim at the very biological source of ailments, like a child with a genetic disorder treated as a source of fatalism and heartbreak. Scientists have identified the DNA bits behind 1,778 genetic disorders. Blocking or excising such genes could mean 3,000 single gene disorders gone in a decade and 30,000 multiple gene disorders by 2050. All medicines are built around a target- a disease - a specific protein, enzyme or whatever. Until now there were only 483 drug targets. Scientists now expect several thousand such targets. Soon, there is bound to be an unprecedented explosion in new pharma products and medicines. Scientists expect tailor- made medical treatment according to a person's genetic make-up. The new system of treatment could well be to diagnose a person's illness much before the bug bites. </span></p><p></p>

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