Friday, February 6, 2009

Amanda S., The future of genetics

The Human Genome Project opened lots of possibilities for the use and circulation of the new-found information about the genetic make-up of human beings. One of the most alluring possibilities has to do with the future of one's children. Researchers are working with the possibility of using genetic information to determine the probability of a child being born with a disease such as Down Syndrome. This is called genetic counseling. First "genetic counselors" create a family pedigree, which can be especially relevant to two parents with history of genetic disease. The two parents undergo a series of tests to see if they are carriers of any fatal diseases by carrying a disease allele alongside a normal allele. But the counselling goes as far as to test embryos to see if they have been at all negatively affected, and then make sure that only healthy embryos are implanted and allowed to grow to maturity.

Genetic counselling has gained enormous popularity recently, especially with families with histories of genetic problems. Only time and research will tell how the Human Genome Project will be able to improve and increase this foundation.

Hewitt. 'Genetic Counseling.' Conceptual Integrated Science. Pearson, San Francisco, 2006. p 362.

No comments:

Post a Comment