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Medical Benefits from Human Genome Project
How the human genome project (HGP) related to modern medicine? Will there
become no diseases anymore in the world after the human genome project finish? In
this section, you would see the fact and some of our opinions.
Before it is complete, the human genome project promises to transform both biology
and medicine. Our genes determine a lot of thing about us. For examples: genes
determine what we look like, determine our characters, our ability. In addition, genes
also influence what diseases we may eventually get. Therefore, understanding the
complete set of genes, known as the human genome, will reveal the mysteries of how
a human develops. It also promises to usher in an era of molecular medicine, with
precise new approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.
If the DNA has some errors, the cell may make the wrong protein, and it often result
in disease. In some cases, such as sickle cell anemia, just a single misplaced letter is
sufficient to cause the disease. In fact, errors in our genes are estimated to be
responsible for 3000 to 4000 hereditary diseases, including Huntington's disease,
cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and many others.
Moreover, altered genes are now known to be related to the causes of cancer, heart
disease, diabetes, and many other common diseases. However, it should be noted that
the diseases are not totally caused by genetic factors, the environmental factor, eg:
diet, lifestyle also related to the causes of those diseases.
Up to now, there is no new medicine directly related to the Human Genome Project
developed. In the future, it is sure that medicine will have a big change after the
Human Genome Project finish. The Human Genome Project will develop certain tools
for identifying the genes that cause genetic diseases and common diseases. With the
help of these tools, we can improve the treatment, the prediction and the prevention of
such diseases. Much more specific and highly targeted drug can be made and act on
the cause of the diseases with less side effect. We may also replace or fix the altered
genes that cause diseases through gene therapy. Checking human genes may also be
very useful in preventing diseases, because it enable us to know that if there is an
altered gene and whether we will get a disease by checking our genes. If there does
have an altered gene, we can have such gene therapy to prevent the disease to harm
In fact, gene therapy is not easy to achieve. It is because finding the disease gene from
all the human genes is very difficult. It just likes finding a needle in a deep ocean. The
human genome will fill 1000 one thousand pages phone book if it is printed out, but
where the disease gene is? Who know? So, scientists have to spend a long time to
chase the disease gene of a corresponding disease. It is not surprised that a few years
is taken to find out where the disease gene locate in the human genome.
Nowadays, the Human Genome Project has been successful to reveal some of the
genetic diseases, eg: cystic fibrosis and colon cancer. The first gene therapy was
proceed in federally approved clinical for trials.
Below, we discuss about a common hereditary disease – hereditary colon cancer. In
the Western countries, many people suffer from colon cancer. In fact, cancer is caused
by interplay of genetic factor and environment factor. This is also true for the colon
cancer. In addition, it is known that the colon cancer may be caused by an alter gene
which is inherited from parents. Although scientists have known that the hereditary
colon cancer is caused by an altered gene for many years, find out the altered gene is
not a easy thing. They know the altered gene is located in 23 chromosomes, but they
have no idea where it actually is? As we mentioned before, the 23 chromosomes in
human contain millions of genes. Luckily, with the help of modern tools, scientists
finally find out where the altered gene is. They found that it is located in the
chromosome 2. They also found that a gene in the chromosome 3 also related to the
colon cancer.
These discoveries have clearly shown that how the Human Genome Project related
and how it benefit in medicine. People who suspect to have hereditary colon cancer
can do a simple blood test to determined whether he or she has such altered gene. For
the people who have such altered gene, it means they may get the colon cancer. So
they can do some prevention, eg: have a high fiber, low fat meal, regular body
check…etc. For the people who are suffering the colon cancer, they may have a new
treatment – replace the altered gene with a normal gene.
With the help of the Human Genome Project, even the cancer can be cured. However,
I think the successful of the Human Genome Project does not mean there will be no
disease anymore. It is because the target of the Human Genome Project is not to
destroy all the bacteria and virus. Its target is to reveal the secret of human genome in
order to have a better treatment and prevention. People will still get ill as we are now
normally do. One thing sure is that the death rate due to diseases will drop
significantly and people will have a longer life.