Download A Terrible Beauty is Born: Clones, Genes and the Future of by Brendan Curran PDF

By Brendan Curran

Genetics and its similar applied sciences are revolutionizing the area. The media is frequently ruled through controversy over the newest genetically transformed (GM) foodstuff, human gene treatment or melanoma chip know-how. Maverick scientists are within the technique of cloning people, and the human genome series is on the market on the web. Fifty years in the past we didn't recognize what a gene used to be; at the present time the outstanding energy of genetics is being published on an unsuspecting public, and with it a complete sequence of moral dilemmas undreamt of even ten years in the past. The query now has develop into now not "can we?" yet "should we?" by means of demystifying genetic engineering and exploring the elemental biology of the residing international, A bad attractiveness is Born explains how clones and cloning know-how are in lots of methods extensions of approaches that happen continuously in nature. Used correctly those methods have the capability to convey huge, immense merits; abused, they bring with them capability hazards that we forget about at our peril.

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Additional resources for A Terrible Beauty is Born: Clones, Genes and the Future of Mankind (Science Spectra)

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Inherited deficiency in DNA repair Every cell containing DNA also has a set of enzymes which recognise and repair damage in DNA, whether arising during cell division or because of an environmental effect. However, such proteins are also encoded by genes. Should an individual inherit genes encoding defective DNA repair proteins, his cells will not be able to repair DNA as efficiently as is normally the case. Unsurprisingly, such individuals accumulate lots of mutations in their cells, some of which lead to the cell control genes being deactivated; the affected individuals are therefore strongly predisposed to developing cancer.

They stop the molecule getting tangled and also seem to protect the DNA from being damaged during the manoeuvres in which it must become involved during cell division. Such compression of long stretches of DNA into a single nucleus (a microdot, as it were) is possible only because the DNA molecule is infinitesimally thin. Incredibly thin, incredibly long and incredibly organised in the nucleus: no verbal or visual aid can ever adequately describe the DNA molecule. It is just as difficult to explain two very remarkable facts: 1.

1), a fail-safe mechanism preventing the first mutation from causing havoc. However, should a second mutation occur in one of the other genes, the tumour suppressor system becomes ineffective and rapid cell division frequently commences. Even after the control systems have become severely compromised and the cells are dividing rapidly, they are not completely out of control. The accumulating runaway cells continue to divide until they undergo a crisis during which many of them die. The survivors emerge with gross chromosomal alterations, some of which have inactivated other control genes, giving rise to an uncontrolled cell division which rapidly develops into a tumour.

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