DNA and Your Body: What You Need to Know About Biotechnology by Colin Masters

By Colin Masters

This booklet addresses the flood of latest DNA-related info that has flowed from the hot revolution in biotechnology: info that's remodeling the foodstuff we devour; the way in which drugs is practiced, or even altering the ways that crimes are solved. to be told on a lot of these issues of the instant calls for an figuring out of the fundamental rules of DNA biology. DNA and Your Body is written for a normal viewers, utilizing non-technical language.

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The success of this technique depends on: 35 DNA5 3/6/05 10:25 AM Page 36 • an exact knowledge of gene sequences, and • a means of inserting DNA into the nuclei of human cells. It has been used so far with only partial success, but its applications are expanding. The technique was first used in 1990 to treat children with a condition characterised by the lack of a protein called adenosine deaminase (ADA). A genetically modified virus was used to carry a normal ADA gene into the patient’s cells, and acted there to produce this particular protein and restore normal function.

In humans it becomes more of a balance between genes and environment – nature and nurture. Ardent genetic determinism fails to acknowledge that many traits are influenced by environment and by personal experience. Nevertheless, it often surfaces in social policy 51 DNA5 3/6/05 10:25 AM Page 52 discussions about such matters as violent behaviour and poor performance at school, with some advocates of genetic determinism devaluing the human characteristics of free will and personal responsibility, and playing down the influence of purely environmental factors such as poverty.

A clone is any Many single-celled organisms such as bacteria organism, whatever replicate themselves by cloning – the cell its origin, that has divides, so that the new cells have exactly the the same DNA as same DNA as each other, and as the old cell. another organism. Plants originating from cuttings taken from a single individual can also be called clones. Most of the current interest in cloning has been directed towards the possibility of cloning mammals. Even here, however, the term probably covers more than is generally supposed.

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