Cancerous Genes: Their Presence In Human Dna

1484 words - 6 pages

Cancerous Genes:Their Presence in Human DNADuring the past decades, biology has evolved drastically into a revolutionary science, constantly making new breakthrough discoveries. It has only been recently that scientists have been able to clone a sheep or perform stem cell research. However, people like Colorado Governor Richard Lamm argue that biomedical research hasn't made any contribution to the advancement of human health. As in the words of J. Michael Bishop in "Enemies of Promise," "When scientists fail to meet unrealistic expectations they are condemned by critics" (239-40). These critics of scientific research do not realize the concept of trial and error, which has brought us penicillin from bread mold and electricity from the spark of a key during an electrical storm. Currently scientists are researching cancerous genes in Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). Testing involves examining a person's DNA from a sample of cells, blood, and sometimes bodily fluids or tissue in order to find something abnormal that could be a disorder or illness, which in this case would be cancer. The predisposition of both breast and colorectal cancer can be found in flaws in human genome structure though presently they are not accurate enough to predict a future case of cancer.To understand how genes can uncover the predisposition of cancer, it is imperative to understand that cancer is caused by damaged genes. In other words, the genes that organize cell reproduction become impaired, causing the cell to reproduce incessantly and unendingly, eventually spreading growths throughout the body ("Genetic Testing for Cancer and Other Diseases"). With this information the correlation between genetics and cancer is apparent and explains scientific belief.Contrary to what would be expected, the study of DNA has only flourished in the past decade. Still, many advances have been made, despite the short time invested in the issue. "Today, at least 12,000 different mutations have been detected in more than 600 different genes, and this number is growing rapidly" ("Genetic Testing for Cancer and Other Diseases"). For example, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, and heart disease are detectable through predictive gene tests ("Statement on Use of DNA Testing for Presymptomatic Identification of Cancer Risk: Commentary - National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research"). The number of actual known genes is little but it is expected for the number to grow quickly within the next five to ten years (Mathew 326). At this rate, the prospects for innovation are enormous, further encouraging the notion that cancer genetic.So far, in what relates to cancer, few discoveries have been made. According to test results on human DNA performed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, researchers were able to detect 91 percent of cancers and 73 percent of pre-cancerous polyps (Cohen). This is assumed to be linked with the fact that "all cancer is genetic, in that it is triggered by altered...

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