Risk assessment is a term used when looking at a list of risks someone has to contract a disease. The Human Genome Project looked at inherited genes. For example, Tay-Sachs disease. This is a disease that slowly destroys the brain of an infant. This happens when there is an increase of fatty acid in the nerves of the brain. The reason for this is because there is one bad letter in their genetic make-up. Both parents, meaning that both must have it, is how Tay-Sachs is inherited. (example below) A practice named gene therapy, “Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease” has been proposed, but has been proved to need much work. Reason being is because of our immune systems response to the therapeutic DNA.Since it is not found in the body of the host, the immune system immediately attacks it. The immune system also has a form of memory, so if the therapeutic DNA is reintroduced into the body, the immune system will know immediately what to do.
This project has several positive aspects. One major one that will most likely come in the near future, possibility sooner rather than later seeing how fast technology is progressing, is that new parents will be able to build the child they want; from hair colour to skin colour. But that is what makes it dangerous. What I mean by dangerous is, everything that makes us as individuals will now be on paper, and that will just make discrimination easier, and easier for those type of people to say “See?! We ARE different inside!” Personally, I think some things should stay mysteries and unknown to the human mind. I leave you with a clip of a movie “Gattaca,” in which the parents are paying a visit to a geneticist.
Please feel free to comment on what you thought of the blog, or other physical anthropological subjects you would like me to cover.