Gene Technology Is The Basic Physical And Functional Unit Of Heredity

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Introduction: A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity and can be used in gene technology processes. Gene technology refers the range of activities concerned with understanding gene expression, taking advantage of natural genetic variation, modifying genes and transferring genes to new hosts. A specific example of gene technology is Gene Therapy. This term refers to the process of introducing DNA into a patient to treat a genetic disease. The new DNA contains a functioning gene to correct the effects of a disease causing mutation (YG, 2016). There are several techniques for carrying out gene therapy, these include, gene augmentation, gene inhibition and the killing off of specific cells. Augmentation: Gene augmentation…show more content…
The process aims to introduce a gene whose product either inhibits or interferes with the expression of another gene. This therapy facilitates the elimination of the growth of disease related cells (YG, 2016). Killing of specific cells ‘suicide’: This process is suitable for diseases which can be treated by destroying certain groups of cells. The aim is to insert DNA into a diseased cell which causes the cell to die. This can be achieved by inserting DNA containing a “suicide” gene that produces a highly toxic product to kill the diseased cell or by inserting DNA which causes the expression of a protein which marks the cells so that the diseased cells are attacked by the body’s immune system. This method must be targeted appropriately to avoid the death of normal functioning cells and would be appropriate to use on a disease such as cancer (YG, 2016). Currently, possible candidates for gene therapy include “cancer, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson 's and Alzheimer 's diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cardiovascular disease and arthritis” (AMA, 2016). This article aims to examine how gene therapy can be used on patients with cystic fibrosis as well as evaluate the various ethical concerns that surround it. Cystic fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease caused by mutations of the CFTR gene. The mutations cause cell proteins that channel chloride ions and water out of
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