Science can be hard to understand at times, especially when you’re trying to understand something microscopic, such as genes and DNA. We all have genes, which makes it an interesting subject to learn about because it’s literally within all of us.
Researchers use genes to understand the human genome better which, ultimately, can help prevent and treat medical conditions and diseases. To date, scientists know a lot about genes, although, there is still much to be understood and discovered.
Whether you’re thinking of contacting CRI Genetics for a DNA test, or just want to learn more about genes and the related research, below is seven questions and answers about genetics.
1. What are genes?
Genes are segments of DNA that provide instructions for building molecules that make the rest of your body function properly. The majority of molecules are proteins and genes are passed down to offspring from the parents.
2. What is a genome?
All of the genetic material that an organism has is known as the genome. A genome is composed of DNA, or RNA in some cases, genes and other elements that control the genes’ activity.
3. Is everyone’s genome the same?
Generally speaking, the human genome is essentially the same among all people. That being said, there are slight differences across each person’s genome that make up about 0.001% of each individual’s DNA.
These variations contribute to the unique appearances and health factors of every person. Closely related people have more similar DNA when compared to non-related individuals.
4. What is genetic risk?
A person who has a genetic risk is more likely to develop certain illnesses because they have inherited a certain gene. It’s important to note that the individual is not guaranteed to develop the illness, rather the individual has a higher chance of developing the illness as opposed to if they hadn’t inherited the gene.
5. What does a genetic test reveal?
By receiving a genetic test, genetic variations can be identified that are linked to risks such as developing a particular disease or tendency to pass on a gene linked to a disease onto offspring. In addition, genetic tests can determine how a person may respond to specific medications.
6. Why do genetic research studies involve population groups?
Not all genetic research studies use population groups, although, many do for good reasons. Often, people within a population have the same ancestry and tend to have very similar genomes. In addition, populations typically share diets, environments and an array of characteristics that impact health.
The similarities between genetics and environments make it simpler for scientists to identify rare variations in a population group that are linked to a certain health factors or diseases. These types of studies can help explain why some illnesses are more common in specific population groups but not others.
7. Why do scientists study other organism’s genes?
All life that we know of today evolved from a common ancestor. This means that humans, animals and other organisms share a lot of genes. The molecules, among all species, made from genes function in similar ways too.
Science has discovered that a variety of organisms have preserved genes for millions of years. By studying these types of organisms, researchers can compare different species genomes and understand similarities and differences. Through the gaining of more knowledge of genomes, scientists can better understand how human genes operate and are controlled.
The ultimate goal is for researchers to devise new strategies to treat and prevent diseases in humans. Also, studying bacteria, virus and fungi genes help researchers understand how to prevent and treat infections.