Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Artificial human chromosomes

Artificial human chromosomes may one day be commonly used to treat diseases with genetic mechanisms as well as a popular preventive measure to impart overall good health.

In Anatomy & Physiology 7th ed. the role of human engineered chromosome (HEC) technology in treating human disease is discussed on p. 1124, in Chapter 34. That chapter reviews genetic mechanisms of human biology. HEC technology involves inserting into human cells a synthetic chromosome that provides the genes needed to produce a variety of normal gene products that may be missing in the patient's native genome.

In an article in the March 2009 issue of Discover Magazine, scientists point out that before such technology can be effective, we need to learn more about how genetic mechanisms work--especially regarding the functions of the centromere.

One of the most striking things to me in this article is the proposition that one day it may become a common practice to insert engineered chromosomes into individuals as a prevention for a whole collection of diseases that have a genetic basis . . . thus acting as a sort of "genetic vaccine." Yikes.

Read all about it:
Evolution by Intelligent Design
Jane Bosveld
Discover Magazine March 2009 (published online 2 February 2009)

[Summary article that includes a really great photo of engineered chromosomes.]

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