Genes and Their Control Over Humans Essay

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Genes and Their Control Over Humans

' They (genes) are in you and me; they created us, body and mind'

This statement by Richard Dawkins poses the question of how much and in what way our genes control us, whether they are responsible for our hereditary features only, or for all behavior and environmental aspects of our persona.

A reductionist view implies that only specific tasks are carried out by the genes.We know that most genes synthesize for proteins, these being chains of sub units, or amino acids (a.a) which in turn form the bases of RNA ( ribonucleic acid) to determine the sequence of the a.a by means of the genetic code. This process dictates whether the protein made will
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It was at this point that Gregor Mendel's work, on the theory of heredity, was revived. This formed the basis of all future genetic studies.

Mendel had suggested that an individual's characteristics were determined by inherited factors. This finding was proved to be correct when later microscopes were able to show proof that these factors, known now alleles, could be related to the actions of the chromosomes, the carriers of genes, during meiosis.

Thus, the theory that genes were the basis of all biological characteristics of inheritance became accepted.

Both Mendel and Darwin have presented their theories from a reductionist viewpoint. Dawkins statement from 'The Selfish Gene' would appear to give an holistic viewpoint by including the psychological, as well as biological, aspect of gene control.


To decide whether this is the viewpoint being put forward it is necessary to investigate known causes of gene manipulation. This would encompass every factor of nature and nurture, from genetic inheritance; be it eye or hair colour, or diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington's chorea or haemophilia. Cystic fibrosis is an example of an autosomal recessive alteration within a single gene, this gene has been identified as lying on chromosome number 7. Huntington's chorea meanwhile, although again arising from an
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