Opportunity and Future of Genetic Science & Engineering in Medical field

Ground-breaking claims have been made globally with respect to the influence of genetics on medicine. The greatest breakthrough in the history of genetics has been the Human Genome Project which has provided the world with the human genetic blueprint comprising of approximately 25000 genes. Scientists are using genetics to study single-cell diseases that are rare and thus find a cure using gene therapy which might be able to correct these rare diseases. Various diseases like cancer, obesity-related diseases, and diabetes are multifaceted for which the underlying genetic mechanisms and interactions are being constantly studied. Progressions in genetic science have made a huge impact on the study of how an individual’s reaction to a particular drug depends on the genetic makeup of that individual (pharmacogenomics).  The science behind genetic predisposition of an individual to a particular disorder will hold the future of medicine. Huge speculations suggest genetic science can act as the basis of personalized medicine. At present, scientists globally are busy using genetic science for construction of genome map for the major agent of world catastrophe i.e. SARS-CoV-2. It helps to evaluate how the virus has originated and the genetic modifications that have occurred in due course of time. Genome mapping, in turn, might aid in diagnosis and drug discovery for successful combat of SARS-CoV-2.
The concept of engineering living organisms for the purpose of conferring preferred features in them is a very old model. Strain improvement strategies have been used to manipulate organisms since time immemorial. The development of recombinant DNA technology (rDNA technology) or genetic engineering in the late ’70s introduced a new dimension to organism engineering. Recombinant DNA technology (RDT) was used by Genentech to produce the pioneering human insulin. This technique (RDT) is being used currently for manufacturing monoclonal antibodies, specific hormones like human growth hormones or follicle-stimulating hormones, vaccines and various other drugs. The prospect of genetic engineering amidst praise and criticism remains extremely vibrant and crucial with the discovery of a revolutionary gene-editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas9. Scientists believe that this technique might be able to cure complex diseases like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anaemia in humans. Positive results have come out when gene editing of bone marrow cells in mice was performed. In future, from improved healthcare to production of designer babies, this technique will be able to transform human living drastically.

Dr. Avipsha Sarkar
Academic Coordinator,
Techno India University, West Bengal.


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