Genomics: T-Gen, Med. Research & Forensics
T-Gen, Translational Genomics and Medical Research
Translational Genomics and Medical Research (TGen) is a collaborative non-profit organization dedicated to unraveling and understanding genetic components. Genetic components may be used to provide earlier diagnosis and better treatments for patients suffering with many diseases and ailments.
This article and the resultant curiosity are both a product of my attendance at a luncheon for the Engineers Club of West Valley (Phoenix, Arizona.) My husband belongs to the organization. The presentation by TGen was fascinating.
Very few people understand the magnitude of such work. There are many ailments that may be treated on the basic level of the human genetic structure. This means better management and even cures of ailments that may be common or rare. The quality if human life may be transformed for the better through the work of T-Gen.
The state of Arizona began growing the bio science industry in 2002. At that time the Finn Foundation commissioned a bio-science road map. TGen was formed in 2002 after a local Arizona fund raising effort.
There are now 867 bio science companies that employ 96,223 people. This industry and science really began in 2002, so this is a toe hold of what may become a huge science and industry.
The use of such a science is not fully understood. There are so many possibilities.
The genome-sequencing process can provide the science that compares DNA and genetic information from healthy cells. This means that cancer can be examined in a new way. Is there a genetic trigger to the growth of cancer? Is the cancer being triggered from external sources?
In the past various organizations researched studies in genetics in a more isolated way. TGen is a collaborative where these organizations may come together; share their work while retaining proprietary ownership of their work.
The human genome has 3 billion pieces. It is difficult to understand 3 billion of anything. However, think in terms of pieces of paper 8 ½ X 11 ½ stacked some 250 feet tall. That represents your DNA. Now it becomes tangible and overwhelming. These pieces make up the 20,000 to 25,000 genes that are the blueprint for a human being.
Basically, your DNA is a blueprint manual of the book of your life. Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, is the encoding of the genetic instructions of who we are and how we function. While the knowledge that DNA exists has been around for over a hundred years, we just decoded it in 2003.
The DNA is a double helix form and the atoms in the structure are basic elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorous.
Human Genome research is looking into such things as;
~ Is there a duplicate gene?
~ Damaged links gene?
~ Mutated gene?
~ Missing link gene in the DNA that may cause or trigger disease?
Does the problem in the DNA prevent the basic function of a body to fight a disease?
How best can the science of the human genetic structure be used to improve lives of millions of people? The work is just now beginning on how to further understand and delve into the exciting science of genetics.
This is heady stuff. The stuff of science fiction novels and movies, until now!
Other Uses for DNA
Forensics is the stuff that makes the crime shows work now days. It seems every criminal and every victim must have their DNA registered and that DNA will tell the detective ‘who done it’ during the last few minutes of the show. That is all a result of understanding DNA coding. That is how we know that Sally Hemmings' descendants were the progeny of Thomas Jefferson.
The history and anthropology of the human being is also being researched using DNA. PBS has a program where people can have the inside of their cheek swabbed and the resulting DNA will tell them where Grandma and Grandpa came from.
The PBS show tells their guests some interesting and fascinating things about who they are as related to and where their people came from. However, the PBS show seems to also tell many people that they did NOT descend from a Cherokee Indian Princess.
This show is called Finding Your Roots and the web site is; http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/tag/family-ancestry/ The tag is "Solving Mysteries Via DNA."
It will be interesting to see how this information is projected onto ancestry search. Will your ancestry genetics now be posted on Ancestry.com®?
A local vet is advertising for you to learn your dog's origins via a genetic test. Do we really need to genetically code our dogs? However, it does illustrate how ubiquitous DNA testing seems to be!
Most of us would be interested in knowing our own genetic ancestry and what we may be prone to medically. The presenter at the talk said it cost some $3,000 just to access the processing. That was not including the labor, of what one can assume would be an extremely well paid scientist.
TGen will make presentations to appropriate groups regarding their work. You may go to their web site and learn more. http://tgen.org/
There are also books for all levels of understanding on the subject.
Oh, and kudos to the step-son who works on developing the computers that do this work. I now have a rudimentary understanding of what he does thanks to the TGen talk!
There is a FB page that is cool too! The Center for Genomic Advocacy. https://www.facebook.com/TheCenterForGenomicAdvocacy
Another Interesting article on the Subject:
- Should I Get 23andMe DNA Analysis? Risks and Benefits of Genetic Testing
23andMe's Direct To Consumer genetic testing informs users of their risks for 120 health conditions, carrier status for 49 rare diseases, and standing on 57 traits. Consumers of DNA testing should understand possible medical, legal, and personal risk