Leeuwenhoek had stolen and peeped into the fantastic sub-visible world of little things, creatures that had lived, had bred, had battled, had died, completely hidden from and unknown to all men from the beginning of time. Beasts these were of a kind that ravaged and annihilated whole races of men ten million times larger than they were themselves. Beings these were, more terrible than fire-spitting dragons or hydra-headed monsters. They were silent assassins that murdered babies in warm cradles and kings in sheltered places. It was this invisible, insignificant, but implacable-and sometimes friendly- world Leeuwenhoek had looked into for the first time of all men of all countries. ~Microbe Hunters

Monday, 8 April 2013

Genome


The genome and genetic typing & marking are interesting subjects. By mapping ones genome, you can find out lots of information about the genes that you possess and what they may encode for. For example, you can be the carrier of a disease, but not present with clinical symptoms. This could be because you are recessive for that disease and only inherited the gene from one parent, thus, only carry it as a “trait”. If two people with recessive traits conceive a child, that child has a chance to inherit that disease or true clinical illness. For example, my roommate, Jillian, has the recessive-linked disease of glycogen storage disease type 1a because both her parents were carriers of the disease, and she was the “25% unlucky” offspring that possess the disease.

Other uses of mapping ones genome include cancer precursor markers, obesity/diabetes genes, psychological illnesses such as addictions, heart disease, etc. Some people can be genetically predisposed to a cancer, such as breast cancer. I still remember from a genetic update conference I attended in Grade 11, Sam Rhine saying genetic mapping was the latest “thing”. Since then, I think it really skyrocketed. I haven’t exactly researched it since, and I am just writing these posts from memory (and occasionally re-looking at some lecture notes). Anyways, if you get your genome mapped, and the doctor says you have the gene for a cancer (i.e. breast), that doesn’t mean you will get said cancer. There has to be an activator to kick-start the gene before you actually have cancer. An activator would turn on the gene which would cause cancer. There are ways to keep healthy by monitoring the activation of that gene, or suppressing that activator all together. Another example is diabetes. If you are genetically predisposed to diabetes and you watch your caloric intake and exercise, you will not develop diabetes just because you have the genetic precursor.

In my opinion, the "zombie apocalypse" will happen when there is a drive-thru genetic typing lab, and everyone knows their genome. I would imaging the mass panic to be equal to a "zombie apocalypse" when people find out "how they are going to die". 


Darn good and sure of it,

adot

2 comments:

  1. Wow! You know a lot about this stuff and you present in an engaging manner. Write on!

    ReplyDelete