There are 3 aspects of your life that are unique to you and all play a major role in the state of your health. They are your genes, lifestyle and environment. This blurb is a bit of work about genes.
Genes are segments of DNA that contain instructions, aka genetic information, for the creation of specific proteins. Proteins are the building blocks which enable your body to work and grow.
Not all proteins are created equally because they have very diverse functions. For instance, proteins are the fundamental components of muscles, organs, enzymes, hormones, antibodies and pigment. Utterly involved in differing health tasks.
Some of your unique characteristics come from a single gene, while others originate via gene mixing. And because you have in the neighborhood of 30,000 different genes, the possibility for distinctive combinations are countless.
When your cells duplicate, they pass their genes on to the newly formulated cells. Heredity means the passing of genes from one generation to the next. So, you inherit a remarkable combination of your parents’ genes.
At any given time, only part of your cell’s gene pool is active. This pattern of gene activity and inactivity dictates the cellular mission. And as a cell ages, many of its genes will remain forever inactive.
Sometimes a cell has glitches in their genetic structure, what’s referred to as gene mutation. Typically how this occurs is the work of aging cells or those exposed to toxins, i.e. certain chemicals or radiation.
Usually, gene mutations are spotted and repaired by the host cell. Generally, these mutations don’t cause much in the way of health problems, although some do.
Flaws in genes that cause inappropriate protein production can result in a genetic disorder. Some health conditions caused by harmful gene mutations, in which heredity may or may not play a role, are:
- cystic fibrosis
- Fabry disease
- celiac disease
- Rett syndrome
- color blindness
- Down syndrome
- Turner syndrome
- Gaucher disease
- Wilson’s disease
- Marfan syndrome
- sickle cell anemia
- Alzheimer disease
- Tay-Sachs disease
- Huntington disease
- retinitis pigmentosa
- lipid storage disease
- epidermolysis bullosa
- Klinefelter’s syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome
- von Willebrand disease
- heredity fructose intolerance
- Charcot Marie Tooth disease
- certain cancers ~ skin, breast
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase
Gene expression refers to the process of how genetic instructions contained in your genes flows through to the production of a protein. A gene has expressed once its protein comes into being.
Gene therapy basically means altering your genes.
How gene therapy commonly works is by replacing genes in cells embracing mutated or missing ones with healthy genes in hopes the swapped in genes will take over. Gene therapy may also repair gene expression issues or altering the degree a gene turns on or off.
How all this gene manipulation works is through the use of a carrier because direct insertion isn’t possible. The most common transporter is a virus. Usually retroviruses are used, but adeno, lenti, poxvi and herpes viruses can be gene shippers as well.
Presently gene therapy work on genetic disorders is only at the clinical trial level. More needs to be discovered about our genes and additional honing of the process needs to be accomplished before exchanging a gene or its expression is employed on everyone.
Sometime in the future, gene therapy may work on how heredity, lifestyle and the environment influences your health. Until then, make note of your ancestors health and take good care of your own.