DNA Testing and Genetic Disease
DNA testing can highlight diseases caused by defects in the genes.
DNA Testing Uncovers Gene Defects
DNA testing is most commonly undertaken to confirm a relationship that may be in doubt, e.g. paternity tests, lost siblings or missing parents. Increasingly, DNA testing is being used by people searching out their ancestral heritage, but DNA testing is also used to uncover genetic diseases.
Detected By DNA Testing
Genetic diseases are relatively uncommon, despite the fact that there are around five thousand known diseases caused by defects in one gene. An example is cystic fibrosis, which, like all other genetic diseases, can be detected using DNA testing.
DNA Full Of Errors
DNA testing, however, reveals that our DNA contains errors and is sometimes damaged but our cells are able to repair themselves in order to correct mutations. When this fails, sometimes caused by external influences such as smoking or exposure to chemicals, a cancerous cell can be created as genes mutate.
Disease Is Mixture Of Nature and Nurture
Illness is therefore a mix of nature and nurture, in that although genes and environment play a part, it is possible to avoid the illness by changing environmental factors such as diet.
DNA Testing - The Bloodchip
A new genetic DNA blood test is being developed by researchers that could save lives. The new DNA test, dubbed the ‘Bloodchip,’ aims to give much more detailed results, thus enabling a closer match between blood donors and recipients. The DNA testing works by recognising specific DNA signatures rather than broader blood types. Disease victims who demand regular blood transfusions can suffer from a process called alloimmunisation, which can lead to serious illness as a result of imperfectly matched blood transfusions. DNA testing with the Bloodchip would reduce this risk.
DNA Testing Unlocks Human Mysteries
DNA testing is constantly evolving, helping science advance in all areas of life from medicine to crime-fighting and working out the meaning of life and how we evolved as humans.
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