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DNA Testing And Genetic Disease

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DNA Testing Used to Uncover Disease

The main reason why people undergo DNA testing is usually to confirm a relationship that’s in doubt for whatever reason – paternity tests, lost siblings or missing parents. And increasingly, genetic testing has become popular for those who are searching out their family trees and ancestral heritage. But laboratory testing of our DNA is also used to uncover genetic diseases.

Detected Through DNA Testing

Fortunately, genetic diseases are not common, despite the fact that there are 5,000 known diseases that are caused by defects in one gene. Cystic fibrosis is an example of a genetic disease that can be detected through testing DNA but a relatively small amount of people suffer from the disease – roughly 2,500 people in Britain.

DNA Full of Mistakes

Our DNA is full of errors and it is sometimes damaged – the cell has a powerful repair system to correct mutations. But sometimes this fails – external influences such as smoking or exposure to chemicals, can create a cancerous cell as genes mutate.

Disease is Mixture of Nature and Nurture

Falling ill then is a mixture of nature and nurture – genes and environment play a part, even if a genetic test reveals you have the faulty gene that causes a disease such as obesity, you can change environmental issues, such as your diet to avoid the illness.

DNA Testing Evolving

DNA testing has been used to find diseases but science and medicine is continually evolving to get more exact results. A new genetic DNA blood test is being developed by an international team of researchers that could save lives. The new type of testing dubbed the ‘Bloodchip’ aims to give much more detailed results thus allowing a much closer match between blood donors and recipients. Testing works by recognising DNA signatures rather than broader blood types, and could be a lifesaver for patients needing regular transfusions. Sufferers of diseases that demand regular blood transfusions can suffer from a process called alloimmunisation, which can lead to serious illness as a result of imperfectly matched blood transfusions. DNA testing with the Bloodchip would reduce this risk.

DNA Testing Unlocks Human Mysteries

The testing of human DNA is constantly evolving to help science advance in all areas of life from medicine to cracking crime and working out the meaning of life and how we evolved as humans.

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