Using gene map science to evaluate the genetic map and eliminate disease

Why Genetic Mapping had to happen

The extraordinarily complex human body has over 10 trillion individual cells, with each cell having a complete set of genetic codes for the entire body. The goal has been to create a gene map to better understand the function and organization of these linkage maps. These chemical codes are actually stored as DNA, the now-familiar twisted double-helix molecule. A single DNA molecule forms each human chromosome, containing the genes that determine everything about your physical self, from the color of your eyes to the likelihood of suffering from certain disorders.

Research efforts that tried to find cures for diseases with genetic components were proceeding too slowly. Without a genetic map, scientific research on various disorders was hampered, and by the late 1980s, fewer than 1,500 of the body's 100,000 genes had been charted. Alfred Sturtevant came up with the first linkage map. These linkage maps provided the basis of genetic map units.

If they had that map, researchers could do their work far more effectively - and save many more lives. Researchers could use the gene map to guide them in their efforts to develop cures for heart disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, certain forms of Alzheimer's disease, and over 3,000 other genetically-linked disorders.

Genetic mapping would identify the location of all genes on each chromosome, or on the DNA molecules. The genetic map would not cure genetic diseases by itself; but it would be an important tool to help researchers locate specific genes and analyze the diseases. Locating desired genes is essential because it leads directly to the discovery of the molecules that cause genetic diseases. Genetic mapping therefore became a necessity for the well-being of humanity.

If our chromosomes were a giant library, genetic mapping would be like noting the titles and the order of all books on the shelves. Researchers in search of a particular book - or gene - would then have a guide where to find it. Further scientific progress thus depended on the creation of the genetic map.



Genetic Ethics

The advances in genetic mapping have made very real what seemed so improbable twenty years ago. ... Genetic mapping is a powerful tool ... but it is also vulnerable to abuse. Many ethical, legal and societal issues are beginning to emerge...
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Genetic map companies like 23andme and DNA Consultants now offer complete readings of your DNA. Purchasing your own genetic map has become a popular way to find out what diseases you are prone to, what skills you're best suited for, and even your ethnic ancestry.