Welcome to Part two of “Why We Need Genetic Research”! If you did not read the last installment of this series, we looked into Gregor Mendel and how the history of researching genetics was born. You can read that post here. Today, we will be discussing why genetic research is important. Overall, the research of genetics is tricky because of how genes are known to mutate, code abnormally, and inherit traits that they may not even express. While in the past, this research was focused on figuring out how genes worked, it is now studied for better human health.
The amount of genetic based diseases is the cause for most of the genetic research done today. As mentioned in a research paper, “The scientists understand how the genes function and how they affect human health, however, the diseases that are triggered by genetic factors do not always function ‘by the rule'”(Life Knowledge Park). There are a countless number of conditions that run in families or occur individually. “People with certain genes are at increased risk of conditions associated with those particular genes” (Life Knowledge Park). It is important for researchers to figure out what genes put you at a higher risk for developing something.
In the case of chronic illnesses, genetic research has proved to be quite important as well. Take the conditions Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). It was found out very recently, in fact, that they are all connected by one gene mutation called TPSAB1. This is a very important find considering it takes an average time of 10 years for someone to be diagnosed with EDS. The study proved to beneficial to me, since I was diagnosed with POTS first, it was easier for a geneticist to diagnose me with EDS. Also having allergy issues, my endocrinologist, who coincidentally also has EDS, diagnosed me with a mild form of MCAS, even though my test came back negative.
Continued genetic research is helping to improve treatment protocols for people across the board. If a scientist knows specifically which gene is causing a disease, they then have the stepping stool to treat or further research it. For instance, I needed genetic testing done after going through every specialty of medicine possible. The results showed that I had Erythromelalgia. This was causing my burning pain and fortunately there is medicine available to help it! My pain from that specific condition is much better today on the medicine, than it has ever been.
Genetic research is vital to improving our health. With chronic conditions on the rise, there is a much higher need for this type of science than ever before in history. Considering that we could only sequence DNA since the 1970’s and that the Human Genome Project was 90% completed in 2001, we have come a very long way since. This form of science is frustrating, confusing, and can take a long time. However, I’m proud to be one of the recipients of the progress we have made so far.
Thank you for reading part two to “Why We Need Genetic Research”. In the next segment, we will be talking about what the current applications of genetic research are. What are your thoughts on today’s article? Have you benefited from genetic research? Subscribe for more great content and I’ll see you next time, my Un-imaginables!
“A Brief History of the Human Genome Project.” National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), http://www.genome.gov/12011239/a-brief-history-of-the-human-genome-project/.
Coila, Bridget. “The Importance of Studying Human DNA Genetics.” Sciencing, 2 Mar. 2019, sciencing.com/importance-studying-human-dna-genetics-2334.html.
“Life Knowledge Park.” Importance of Genetic Research for Human Health and Disease Treatment, lifeknowledgepark.org.uk/.
“One Gene Mutation Links Three Mysterious, Debilitating Diseases.” Mental Floss, 17 Oct. 2016, mentalfloss.com/article/87506/one-gene-mutation-links-three-mysterious-debilitating-diseases.
Original image by Arek Socha on Pixabay