Eng 2000 Artilcle - Gene Therapy and Children

Eng 2000 Artilcle - Gene Therapy and Children - Gene...

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Gene Therapy and Children October 2007 http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/system/medical/gene_therapy.html Gene therapy carries the excitement of a cure-all for a host of diseases, the controversy surrounding the altering of  human genes, and the promise of a type of medical treatment most of us would never imagine possible. With its  potential to eliminate and prevent hereditary diseases such as  cystic fibrosis  and hemophilia and its use as a possible  cure for heart disease,  AIDS , and  cancer , gene therapy is a potential medical miracle-worker. But what about gene therapy for children? There's a fair amount of risk involved in trials of this kind of therapy, and to  date, only children who are seriously ill or have illnesses incurable by conventional means have been involved in  clinical trials using gene therapy. For those with serious illnesses that aren't responsive to conventional therapies, however, gene therapy may soon  offer hope that didn't exist just a short time ago. What Are Genes? Your  genes  are part of what makes you unique. Inherited from your parents, they determine your physical traits - like  the color of your eyes and the color and texture of your hair. They also determine things like whether you'll be male or  female, the amount of oxygen your blood can carry, and what your IQ will be. Genes are composed of strands of a molecule called DNA and are located in single file within the chromosomes. The  genetic message is encoded by the building blocks of the DNA, which are called  nucleotides . There are  approximately 3 billion pairs of nucleotides in the chromosomes of a human cell, and each person's genetic makeup  has a unique sequence of nucleotides. This is mainly what makes us different from one another. Scientists believe that every human has about 25,000 genes per cell. A mutation, or change, in any one of these  genes can result in a disease, physical disability, or shortened life span. These mutations can be passed from one 
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This note was uploaded on 10/12/2010 for the course BIOL 1208 taught by Professor Crowe during the Spring '10 term at Louisiana College.

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Eng 2000 Artilcle - Gene Therapy and Children - Gene...

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