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Genetically Modified Foods Plant Genetic Engineer Prenatal Diagnosis Transgenic Organisms Ethical Issues Lasse Lindahl University of Maryland, Baltimore Ribozyme RNA David E. Loren University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Colon Cancer Dennis N. Luck Oberlin College Biotechnology Jeanne M. Lusher Wayne State University School of Medicine Children's Hospital of Michigan Hemophilia Kamrin T. MacKnight Medlen, Carroll, LLP Patent, Trademark and Copyright Attorneys Attorney Legal Issues...

Genes for Intelligence

The search for specific genes associated with IQ is proceeding at a rapid pace with the completion of the Human Genome Project. While defects in single genes, such as the fragile X gene, can cause mental retardation, the heritability of general cognitive ability is most likely due to multiple genes of small effect (called quantitative trait loci, or QTLs) rather than a single gene of large effect. QTLs contribute additively and interchangeably to intelligence. Genetic studies have identified...

Gene Regulation and Protein Synthesis

Gene expression in many bacteria is regulated through the existence of operons. An operon is a cluster of genes whose protein products have related functions. For instance, the lac operon includes one gene that transports lactose sugar into the cell and another that breaks it into two parts. These genes are under the control of the same promoter, and so are transcribed and translated into protein at the same time. RNA polymerase can only reach the promoter if a repressor is not blocking it the...

Overview of the Immune System

The immune system includes several interacting components. Nonspecific immunity (protection against any invasion) is provided by the barriers of the skin and mucous membranes lining the lungs and gut. Additional nonspecific defenses are provided by the inflammatory response and the complement proteins in the bloodstream. We shall not deal further with these defenses. Specific immunity is the set of defenses mounted against a specific invader. It involves the action of three major types of cells...

The Homologous Recombination Process

Homologous recombination is a process that occurs within the chromosome and which allows one piece of DNA to be exchanged for another piece. It is a cellular mechanism that is probably part of the normal process cells use to repair breaks in their chromosomes. Homologous recombina A modified version of the target gene replaces it in the chromosome. The target gene is removed and degraded. In this example, the gene is modified by insertion of an antibiotic resistance gene, which both inactivates...

The Future of Medicine

The idea of preventive medicine is not new, but until the completion of the Human Genome Project medicine did not have a way of accomplishing it for common medical problems. For example, for years almost every baby born in the United States has had its urine or blood screened early in life for phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic disease in which affected individuals cannot metabolize the amino acid phenyalanine, a common amino acid in our food. Untreated, PKU patients develop severe mental...

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Somatic nonreproduc-tive not an egg or sperm in vitro in glass in lab apparatus, rather than within a living organism One day, gene therapy may also be used to treat a variety of hereditary and nonhereditary diseases, ranging from loss-of-function disorders such as muscular dystrophy and hemophilia, to gain-of-function disorders such as sickle cell disease, to viral diseases such as HIV-AIDS. Active areas of research include improvements in the methods of gene delivery to the individual tissues...

Mendelian Inheritance Intelligence Testing and American Eugenics

Galton's eugenic ideas found fertile ground in America after 1900, when scientists rediscovered Mendel's findings regarding the inheritance of physical traits in pea plants. Mendel's notions of dominant and recessive genetic traits, easily identified in lower organisms such as plants and animals, convinced people that human eugenic improvement was possible. Scientists assumed that even complex human traits such as intelligence and behavior behaved as simple genetic unit characters, such as...

Protection as Well as Education

At the same time that they provide beneficial genetic counseling to patients and their families, professionals providing such a service must have a full understanding of the dangers of eugenics. The abuse of genetic information has led to many atrocities in the past. In Germany, the Nazis murdered nearly 7 million genetically defective people during World War II and forcibly sterilized nearly half a million others, all in the name of eugenics a policy that calls for the systematic elimination...

An Expanding Gene

In 1991 an international team of scientists identified the gene and mutation that causes fragile X syndrome. They found that in families with fragile X syndrome, there is a piece of the FMR1 gene, called a CGG repeat, which is abnormally expanded. In the general population, the repeat length can range from about six to fifty-four copies of the CGG, and the repeat is stable, or is passed from parent to child without change. In fragile X families, the premutation form of the repeat contains...