Genomics, Gene Editing And Their Relevance In Today’s World

Future of Industry

While the exploration of the cosmos or outer space for any signs of life to show that we aren’t alone is important, our inward voyage to understand what has been happening on the inside is equally significant. This journey inwards has been unearthing the complexities of life on earth and how the tiniest of components power magnanimity.

In an achievement that doubles as a momentous landmark of human progress, researchers have managed to fill in the unsequenced regions in the human genome, thereby completing genome sequencing.

But what is the significance of this achievement? How does it change anything? We might just have the answer you are looking for.

What Is Genomics?

Genomics is the study of the genomes of organisms. It is a multidisciplinary field that studies the structure and function of the genomes. Genomics also tries to understand how inheritance works by determining the DNA sequences of different organisms. Chromosomes contain genomic DNA sequences in living organisms and the former act as the carrier of genes from one generation to another.

The Human Genome Project was a collaborative research program that was launched in 1991 with the goal of mapping and understanding the complete genes of human beings, collectively known as genomes. The project has helped us to unearth over 20,500 human genes, giving us insights into the structure, function, and the overall organization of the genes. It has also provided us with pointers regarding how genetic information, including genetic diseases, has been passed down generations of humans. For example, genomics has helped scientists in the UK to understand salmonella through quick and cheap sequencing. This has helped us to trace its evolution and its ability to transmit.

What Is Gene Editing?

Genome editing, or gene editing, allows scientists to engineer DNA and perform various operations such as insert, delete, replace and modify it in the genomes of living organisms. It is a type of genetic engineering but unlike other techniques, gene editing allows us to insert genetic material at very specific locations within the host genome. The most commonly used gene-editing technique is the CRISPR-Cas9, a technique that allows precise and quick DNA alteration. It was adapted from the natural gene editing capabilities that were observed in bacteria. This phenomenon helps bacteria to improve their immune systems where they insert a virus’ DNA fragments into their own DNA so that the RNA segments that are formed may recognize the virus and disable it.

Genome editing is widely applied in research areas that focus on preventing human diseases. It is commonly used in the research of many diseases including fibrosis, hemophilia, cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiac diseases, and sickle cell anemia.

The relevance Of Genomics and Gene Editing today

Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute noted that genomics was like a book – one that maps the history of humans and their journey through time. Studying genomics helps us to understand how genetic material is passed down from one generation to the next and points at how genetic diseases need to be understood. Genome sequencing helps to understand how different types of cancer can be treated, improve drug prescription and delivery, diagnose genetic diseases, agriculture, understand rare genetic disorders, human origins and ancestry, study microbes, and the management of population data.

Recently, the scientists at the Telomere-to-Telomere consortium successfully completed the sequencing of the human genome, including the 8% of the genome that had been unsequenced. This sequenced genome will act as a template that the other scientists will use to compare other genomes. The completion of sequencing is set to kick off new research in figuring out the role of the function of nucleoli in different types of cells. Yet another area that has been gaining interest is personal genomics. This field might be the future of healthcare because it enables the study of an individual’s genes to reveal genetic information regarding physiology, susceptibility to diseases, and their ability to respond to various drugs.

Through gene editing, scientists are hoping to treat various diseases in humans. It is also used in “gene therapy”, where a patient’s DNA is modified to cure them of diseases. So far, trials have been conducted on the use of gene editing in treating genetic defects, treatment of cancer, ending organ transplant shortage, understanding the damage to crops, and improving agriculture.

In the near future, genomics and gene editing are set to bring about a change in the kind of treatments we receive for various diseases and in the type of food we eat. After all, it is in its DNA, isn’t it?

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