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Treating Genetic Diseases

To date, over four thousand genetic diseases due to single gene defects have been discovered (“How many genetic diseases are there?”). These disorders are unavoidable because they are determined at the moment of conception. Since there are no preventative measures for such illnesses, the most doctors can do is prescribe courses of action for treatment or possible cures. Unfortunately, treatments and or cures for every disease have not been found. For example, researchers are searching for the faulty gene in Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease of the eyes, in order to determine a proper treatment for it. Support through funding is crucial to the success of this type of research. With the recent increase in technological knowledge, several new theories of treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa and other genetic disorders have arisen. Retinitis Pigmentosa can be inherited from a dominant or recessive gene, an X-linked chromosome, or have an unknown cause. This disease causes trouble with vision in dim lighting or in the dark and loss of side or peripheral vision. The time that it takes for these effects to emerge depends on the individual who carries the disorder (“Retinitis Pigmentosa”). These permanent changes occur due to inactive retinal cells (“Retinitis Pigmentosa”), as well as rod and cone photoreceptor cell death in the eyes (Komeima). It is possible for some people with RP to also develop cataracts. Even though the cataracts can be removed, the patient will still have this disease after the procedure, with a partial amount of their vision restored (“Retinitis Pigmentosa”). The simplest theory of alleviating the symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa is to add certain supplements to your diet. Studies are currently “i… … middle of paper … …atural Academy of Science of the United States of America. National Academy of Sciences, 25 Jul 2006. Web. 27 Oct 2011. McCracken, Mark. “Electroporation.”., 2011. Web. 15 Nov 2011. Pradhan, Monika, Ian Hayes, and Andrea Vincent. “An audit of genetic testing in diagnosis of inherited retinal disorders: a prerequisite for gene-specific intervention.” Clinical

The Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering

Within the field of human embryo research lies a controversial science that could redefine prenatal care: genetic engineering. Genetic engineering not only offers the possibility of eliminating birth defects and genetic illness, but also presents the moral ambiguity of eugenics. The acceptabilities of genetic engineering, assuming that it will be available in the foreseeable future, must be explored if society is to fully benefit from it.

The most prominent and perhaps the most acceptable reason given for genetic engineering is its potential use in preventative medicine. A few cells from an embryo could be genetically analyzed to detect harmful mutation or predisposition towards disorder, at which point action could be taken either through somatic cell or germ-line gene modification. In 1993, the gene that causes Huntington’s Disease was located, and scientists are currently trying to determine its normal function (The Benefits of Genetic Engineering). Assuming researchers succeed in this endeavor, genetic engineering could then be used to eliminate a debilitating and ultimately fatal disease that affects approximately 30000 Americans and that has the potential to affect 150000 more through genetic inheritance (Huntington’s Disease). In 1997, a group of scientists successfully diagnosed familial adenomatous polyposis coli, the dominant cancer predisposition syndrome, in three preimplantation embryos. This type of cancer predisposition affects 1 in every 10000 people America, Britain, and Japan, making it a relatively common malady (Ao, 140). Schizophrenia has been shown to run in families; even adopted children of schizophrenic parents are ten times more likely to develop schizophrenia, regardless of whether or not…

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…-Stewart, Edward J. Roy, and Christopher D. Wickens, eds. Psychology, 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.

The Benefits of Genetic Engineering:

Debate: Germ-line Gene Modification:

Henig, Robin Marantz. “Tempting.” Discover May (1998): 58-64.

Resta, Robert G. Genetic Counseling: Coping with the Human Impact of Genetic Disease:

Ruben, Robert J., Thomas R. Van De Water, and Karen P. Steel, eds. Genetics of Hearing Impairment. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1991.

Wolfson, Richard. Cloning, Marketing Life, and Playing God (Part II):

Huntington’s Disease:

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