The Genomics Age: How DNA Technology Is Transforming the Way We Live and Who We Are

The Genomics Age: How DNA Technology Is Transforming the Way We Live and Who We Are

Gina Smith

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0814408435

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Entertaining, informative, and written in plain English by a world-class science and technology journalist, "The Genomics Age" explores how recent leaps in the understanding of DNA offer astounding scientific promises, and pose complex ethical issues. It covers all areas of our lives that might change, and subjects that are hot and frequently in the news, such as anti-aging and longevity, stem cell research, "designer" babies, and of course the social, moral and ethical questions that accompany these subjects.

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date, no cure for it, no way to delve into the millions of brain cells carrying this mutation and fix them. Nancy Wexler and her sister have so far declined to be tested. Both of them are a decade older than their mother was when she was diagnosed. “When we were trying to develop a test, we assumed we’d both take it. Then once the test existed, we were thinking about it differently. Our family talked an enormous amount about the consequences. Even if you live at risk all of your life, and you’ve

develop. Meanwhile, in Iceland . . . Many of us have no idea who came before us three, or even two, generations ago. Not so for your typical Icelander. She can trace her family records back to the original Viking settlement of Iceland in the ninth century, thanks to the country’s painstakingly recorded Book of Settlement. That’s handy information for Icelanders, sure. But for human beings, it’s a treasure trove, too. Because Iceland is a remote, practically isolated island with a small

How DNA codes for protein. The primary job of DNA is to tell the body what proteins to build and how to build them. The order of the chemical bases A, T, C, and G on a gene gives the cell the recipe for that particular protein. Scientists used to think that one gene always directed the body to create one protein, but now they know that a single gene can potentially create more than one kind of protein. We share 51 percent of our genes with yeast and 98 percent with chimpanzees—it is not genetics

description of the DNA language.”2 When you hear that scientists “have mapped” the human genome, this is what they are talking about. They have figured out the exact order in which A, T, C, and G appear on human genes. Quite obviously, there are areas of variation that explain why one human has blue eyes, for instance, and another brown. But the DNA of any two humans is well over 99 percent identical. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DON’T IT MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE (OR NOT) People have been wondering

genes into the prostate. It spreads, infects, and apparently weakens tumor cells, in addition to carrying the genes to a wider group of prostate cells. Then, researchers bombard the tumor cells with radiation. The combination looks effective. In the study, researchers treated fifteen men with advanced forms of prostate cancer. All of them almost immediately showed a decrease in levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) protein, a common marker for prostate cancer. And a year later, ten of the

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