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137_introduction - A Road Map to Human(and Eukaryotic...

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©jlmarsh 2006 1 A Road Map to Human (and Eukaryotic) Genetics D137 JL Marsh Human genetics: What are the issues? If we accept that almost everything in biology is driven by genetics or the response of our genetic make up to environmental input, then genetics is central to understanding and perhaps manipulating biology. Some of the major issues in genetics are the following: 1- How can we determine if a problem is genetic? For example, is muscular dystrophy genetic, hemophilia, alcoholism, autism, violent behavior, learning difficulties, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) etc. 2- If we suspect that something is genetically based, how can we find what genes are responsible for the trait? This will involve mapping genes and finally proving that a given functional trait is caused by a physically identifiable gene (or genes). 3- If we can identify a gene or genes, how can we diagnose or predict the trait ? For example, can we use DNA finger printing to help make informed clinical decisions about a particular pregnancy?
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