Genetic Testing In Humans Essay

1534 words - 6 pages

Every human carries about half a dozen defective genes that could become harmful in the future. With today’s technology, it is now easier to find these defective genes through genetic testing. Genetic testing is the analyses or screening of an individuals DNA sequence in order to analyze health risks, trace ancestry, and prevent passing on illnesses to offspring. Genetic testing can provide information about individuals’ genes throughout their lifetime but is a complex process that has many uses and benefits yet sparks controversial issues.

Genetic testing has varied purposes and has a long history that has strongly developed over many years. Genetic tests can be done prenatally, at birth, during a person’s lifetime and can diagnose an individual before or during symptoms. Genetic tests can detect genetic changes that are obtained over an individual’s lifetime, and can diagnose a condition, measure the expression of the disease, guide gene therapy, and prognosis. These tests can also identify the individual’s family genetics to check for carriers, and find out if an individual carries a gene for a disease that might be passed on to their offspring (Michael S. Watson). Even though a person has a gene for a disease, it is not always known for sure whether or not the disease will be obtained or passed to offspring while sometimes other factors such as a persons lifestyle or environment are more important. The technology began in the late 1950s and early 1960s when disorders with missing or extra chromosomes were discovered. Soon genetic tests were offered clinically and the first biochemical tests for genetic conditions were being discovered (Michael S. Watson). Then In 1995, the UK developed the worlds first national DNA database, that became know as the national DNA database (NDNAD). The US followed with local state DNA databases. Soon, in the early 2010s, most European nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand established DNA databases (Adrienne Lerner). As technology increased, molecular microarrays and DNA and RNA chips were introduced. They allow for a rapid determination of the presence, absence, or expression to what extent of DNA sequences in a single test. This ability has permitted the identification of important differences between cancer cells and normal cells. This paved the way for faster technology and as of 2008 there were more than 1,200 tests available (Michael S. Watson). [CM HERE]. Genetic testing has evolved over the years from testing on small units of an individual to being able to test for the whole DNA sequence and quickly finding the results, which in turn had led to the development of a new generation of genetic testing.

From simple tests done at home to biobanks, hundreds of genetic tests are now in use while more are being developed. Genetic tests can be preformed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, or any other tissue. Using a cotton swab to assemble cells from inside the cheek is also used as another test. As...

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