The Use of DNA to Treat Disease Essay

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Essay Sample: Page 2
The information in somatic cells will not be passed

on to the next generation.

If the DNA of a particular gene contains mistakes then the gene may

not function properly. Sometimes the mistake will not have serious

effects on the body’s health, but other times it will cause a severe

genetic disease. Examples of this are cystic fibrosis, sickle cell

anemia and hemophilia. Hemophilia, for instance, is caused by a

malfunction in the gene that makes the blood clot. As further research

into human genetics is carried out it is becoming clear that other

diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and some manic

depressive illnesses also result from faulty DNA information.

For some of these genetic diseases, there are effective therapies that

do exist. Drugs, blood transfusions, changes in diet or

transplantation of organs can often help to compensate for the

incorrect information from the malfunctioning gene, e.g. a clotting

factor can be introduced to help people suffering with hemophilia.

Human gene therapy is another approach to the treatment of genetic

diseases. The basic idea is to insert normal genes with the correct

information into the DNA of cells with malfunctioning genes. Adding

genes in this way is called “gene insertion.”

The added genetic information would allow the effected cells to

function properly and may reduce or eliminate the signs and symptoms

of a
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