Every generation brings with it a game-changing advance in medical science. Learning to control infections, antibiotics, advanced heart surgery and artificial joints are just a few of the techniques that were new to medicine some decades ago. Genetic research is the next frontier of medical science. It will revolutionize medical science’s approach to medicine and increase our lifespan.
The Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project set the stage in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mapping the DNA sequences that make up human DNA was a milestone that enabled many great things that came after. However, this level of study simply developed DNA information at a relatively basic level. Ambitious as the program was for its time, it did not develop information on many of the different sequences that are found in human disease and mutation. At this early stage, little was known about how to apply genetic information to practical problem-solving in medicine.
Genomics Takes Genome Research To the Next Level
Harry Stylli has written extensively about genomics, which is the study of more advanced DNA sequencing specific to disease. You might look at it as a more detailed study of what is going wrong in a genetic structure when a body develops cancer, for example, not just a roadmap of what these genetic structures should look like in a healthy organism.
By studying pathologies relative to specific gene variations, genomics research can hopefully develop treatment regimes which can directly repair these genetic structures, rather than simply trying to kill the affected tissue and hope for the best.
You may sometimes hear that someone has “the genes” for a certain characteristic or predisposition to disease. As the study of genomics paints a more detailed picture about our gene sequences, it becomes more apparent that complex sequences of genes are actually to blame for medical conditions or disease, not just a single gene. The more that medical science learns, the more it can develop vaccines and therapies for these conditions.
Discovering Positive Mutations
Many mutations cause or increase susceptibility to diseases. Some mutations, however, can be beneficial. Until they could be studied in detail, the preservation of these mutations were left to chance, and may not have even been discovered in the first place. As more study takes place around individual genome sequencing, the chances of finding and capitalizing on beneficial mutations improve.
Other Applications of Genetic Research
By studying the genetic effects of the environment on humans, medical science can eventually separate fact from fiction on the effectiveness of prevention measures. More study is needed on how free radicals affect our genes positively and negatively, for example. It’s known that antioxidants are beneficial, for example, but little is known about exactly why. Genetic research can move these kinds of studies from the realm of experimenting, observing results and inferring correlation to the realm of directly observing the genetic effects on cell structure.
Genetic research promises to change your life for the better. The fear of the unknown in this arena should not keep medical science back from exploring the possibilities.