In this busy life I set two hours aside to watch a documentary called Cracking the Code of Life. It is about the biological explanation for how life occurs from the knowledge we have collected thus far. This knowledge is a lot, but at times seems to raise more questions than answers. The extent of our curiosity and nosiness does not allow us to be satiated with the wealth of knowledge we have gathered so far. After knowing so much, people still suffer, die and are miserable; this gives all the more reason to know more and keep discovering.
So the documentary, it traversed various topics in the field of genetics and recent advancements in the field. A lot of the documentary was about the Human Genome Project and the mapping of people’s genes. One big cause for suffering in this world is disease. Disease is horrible, time-consuming and degrading in every way. We humans want nothing to do with it, and yet it manages to creep up on us so that all of the human race is, was or will be effected by it. What the Human Genome Project was about was mapping people’s genes to track alterations in DNA that result in disease. This tracking the alterations of DNA has come a long way from the manual method to the super-sonic computer method. Anyway, when you get genes from your parents you get the good, the bad and the ugly. And a big reason for disease is because the disease is passed on through genetics.
Diseases come in varieties. One of which would be Tay Sach’s. Tay Sach’s is when a single enzyme does not function properly causing a build up of fat in the brain which destroys vital brain cells. This disease can kill a child by its fourth birthday as is what happened to Hayden Lord, shown in the documentary. Unfortunately, Hayden’s cousin, Cameron. was effected by this disease as well. Hayden and Cameron’s dads are identical twin brothers both carriers of Tay Sach’s and both their wives are carriers as well. What are the chances? So sad, so very sad…we must put an end to this. What the Human Genome Project can allow is an early diagnosis of genetic diseases. This means knowing if a baby is going to be born with Tay Sach’s. From there, the parents can make the decision of having an abortion, readying themselves for the baby or whatever they want to do. This can allow the elimination of suffering from being effected by diseases like Tay Sach’s.
Why can’t brothers and sisters marry each other? I know it sounds gross, but I need to prove a point, just bare with me. Each has a sperm and an egg cell why can’t they just marry each other and have kids, it would be so much simpler. Why do you need to go out into the world and find maps, slay dragons, lock yourself up in a tower, eat a poisoned apple, spend money on a girl you’ll never see again and act like damsels in distress when your brother is right with you at home and is a guy or your sister. Woah woah woah let’s use some science before making weird decisions. When we have a boy and a girl and there genetic code is rather similar, the chances of the both of them being carriers for the same disease and having a baby born with that disease are much higher than the love of your life found by going out and slaying dragons. Guess the slaying dragons pays off. That’s why it is not a good idea to marry your brother or sister and many many more reasons exist which you all already know.
But, if you’re family lives in a place and your ancestors lived in that place for awhile, maybe just some thousand years and the people in your neighborhood are probably all related to each other because everyone marries amongst each other and the people in maybe just the entire country which is not too big of a country are all probably related to each other because of the same reason, a set number of diseases occurring prevalently across the board in that country is pretty high which makes that country the perfect place to conduct studies on DNA sequences that yield those particular diseases and that country, yup you guessed it, is Iceland. In Iceland many useful studies have been conducted which have yielded good results. Yay, lives can be saved, but you know as they say you get what you give and what you give up in this case is privacy. A lot of people do not want there medical history put out for everyone to read. It could contain some really personal things like divorce and scandals people have been involved as a result of or cause of a disease a person has. Privacy is really important to people and studies like these are not very concerned about this.
All in all, we as a human race have a long way to go and a lot more needs to be done. I’m sorry to say this but the TO DO LIST for mankind has just gotten bigger a lot bigger.
Article from 2004 on Iceland and DNA project:
“DNA Models, (Close-up).” Models Royalty-free Image. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
“Prince and Princess Wedding Dance.” Prince And Princess Wedding Dance Royalty-free Illustration. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.