What Is Genomics?
By definition, genomics is the in-depth study of the genome. The word “study” pertains to an elaborate focus on the structure, functions, and evolution of the genome. Wikipedia defines the genome as “ an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.”
As per the U.S National Library of Medicine ( ghr.nlm.nih.gov ), the human genome is made up of nearly 3 billion DNA base pairs. These DNA base pairs or letters are present in every single cell of the human body that has a nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA is also a main component of the genome.
Each gene is essentially a unit of DNA. The DNA comes with specific instructions that are used to create a specific protein or set of proteins. These proteins are the very fundamental building blocks of tissues and organs in the body. The proteins also control the chemical reactions and convey signals between cells.
Hence, any disruption or mutation of the DNA can lead to abnormal protein synthesis, which in turn leads to an interruption of bodily functions.
We’ve already established that the DNA or the DeoxyriboNucleic Acid holds the key to every single aspect of human health. The interaction of DNA sequences, genes, and environmental factors is clearly connected to the normal, healthy functioning of the human body. It is also the reason for the pathogenesis of the diseases.
Why is it important to understand the role of DNA tests and gene tests in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of health problems?
- DNA tests shed light on genetically transmitted diseases and disorders.
- Understanding the DNA helps in accurate diagnosis of diseases that may be asymptomatic or in words they do not show any symptoms.
- DNA also sheds light on the kind of hidden diseases that an otherwise healthy person might be carrying in his genes.
- Genetic information helps to establish the risk of diseases in healthy individuals that are caused by genetic and environmental factors.
- DNA and Genetic information help doctors understand and manage diseases better.
- Doctors can recommend dietary and lifestyle modifications in healthy individuals who carry the risk of certain diseases like cancer in their genes.
The Advancement Of Medicine With Gene Therapy
Genetic engineering and DNA mapping have unearthed extensive genomic data. When coupled with the right technology and research, this genomic data can help in the faster and cheaper development of medication and drugs.
It is intriguing to note that there are genomic drugs that can target specific body parts. With the genomic information on hand about where a particular disease carries DNA might lurk, it is possible to start on the medication even before the actual onset of the disease! Imagine the amount of precious time that is saved and risk that is thwarted!!
Notorious diseases like cancer, diabetes, and hypertension are carried in the genes. Acquired conditions like AIDS are on the rise. Advancement in gene therapy holds the potential to use normal or synthetic genes to treat or cure these life-threatening diseases.
Clinical trials on corrective gene therapy have mushroomed all over the world. Gene therapy holds are promises that are impactful and immense. The focus is mainly on cancers, infectious diseases, and vascular diseases.
Understanding The Significance Of Genetic Counseling
Genetic Counseling is a branch of medicine that helps and guides a patient or family member to understand the medical and psychological implications of genetics in their lives.
The medical scenarios where genetics can raise its ugly head are numerous- cancers, heart diseases, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, and the highly misunderstood Autism. When confronted with any genetic disease that is life-threatening, the patient and the family need guidance to understand and adapt to the consequential changes.
That is exactly what Genetic Counseling helps them to do. What else does Genetic Counselling involve?
- Genetic Counselling plays a significant role in developing an understanding and acceptance of the medical condition.
- It helps to ease the difficult decision-making process.
- Counselling provides the answers to technical and personal questions.
- It gives an in-depth insight into the various options, medical services, and treatments that are available, thus instilling a ray of hope in a depressing circumstance.
- For patients and families who are otherwise unaware of underlying genetic disorders and diseases, genetic counseling gives them invaluable insight and guidance that prepares them to avoid future medical risks.
In today’s medical world, there is great emphasis on gene therapy and genetic screening. It is simple logic. Why not be well-prepared and well-informed when you know you carry the risk in your genes? It makes a lot of sense to do just that.
Anderson Diagnostics & Labs is one of the leading genetic Counseling Center in Chennai. The Center is headed by a team of highly qualified doctors and technicians. Anderson has extensive, result-oriented treatment and services for Oncology Diagnostics, Prenatal Genetic Screening, and Neuro Genetics.
Visit our webpage to learn more about our advanced medical services.