Introduction Human genes can be compared to pieces of a puzzle that fit together to form the entire picture. As our nation continues to advance in science and medicine there have been recent developments in the study of genetics and many diseases. Gene therapy is still experimental however; has provided for many major medical advancements in preventing disease through control of gene expressions. It is important to note that these treatments have many advantages but are not without drawbacks.
Medical Treatments and Gene Expression Stem cell research and gene therapy are widely studied and researched however; they are still termed as experimental. Gene therapy can be defined as a group of techniques that alter a gene’s function to improve, delay, or treat symptoms (Shier, Butler, & Lewis, 2006, p. 957). The practice of gene therapy has undergone much scrutiny in the public eye for social and ethical issues. Regardless of these concerns, many feel that the advantages of the therapy far outweigh the disadvantages.
One of the advantages of controlling gene expression is that medical researchers have the ability to inhibit “bad” genes from causing disease in humans. The use of genetic testing is a large part of this process. Even though this is an awesome feat; the disadvantage is that many times the inhibition is not permanent and eventually the damaged cells reverse the process. Another advantage is that parents can “pick and choose” which genes they would like to express in their children. For example, if you would like your child to inherit a spouse’s baby blue eyes doctors may be able to alter the genes to ensure this occurs. The disadvantages of these practices are that they carry a lot of controversy based on social norms and ethical considerations.
Medical Treatments for Diseases
There is a myriad of diseases and disorders that can be treated through gene therapy. As research continues and technology advances the numbers of available treatments are constantly increasing. A few of the diseases that can be addresses through gene manipulation are; diabetes, emphysema, and even cystic fibrosis. It is important to note that gene manipulation is not always successful as there are other factors involved in success. Toxins, other genes, and