“Human Genome” Project and Hereditary Diseases

The recent success of a Human Genome(1) project proved that a clear understanding of genetics and its influence on human health could lead to a breakthrough in healthcare improvements in the future. (2). Geneticists have argued that the study of genes is not only for the future but also serves as a means of looking back in the past and therefore provide a means of understanding clearly the causes of hereditary diseases.(3)

It is now common knowledge that a strong link between health and genetics exists with disease such as cancer and mental illness toping the list of hereditary diseases and therefore many other diseases have been linked to genes making it a subject that is more often researched by many doctors seeking to come u with solutions and therefore issues such as environmental causes of diseases are greatly overlooked.

Genetics try to explain how genes are transferred from one generation to another through parent to child transmission. Although this is a natural process, at times it leads to undesired effects as inheritance of deadly diseases mostly due to gene mutation. (4, 5)

It is in this light therefore that most doctors have dedicated their time to research and study genetically related ailments in a bid to find a way to eradicate the diseases completely. This however is not and easy task and can take many years to come up with a conclusive solution. Due to this, many other disease causes may be ignored and yet they contribute to the rising death rate in the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 24% of the deaths in the world are caused by preventable environmental factors (6, 7). It further explains that the exposure to these factors even further aggravates development of genetically diseases therefore with this in mind it is only imperative that such factors should not be sidelined.

Diseases resulting from gene mutation and those that result from environmental factors are linked together in a way and therefore while looking for a solution to one of the causative agent it is also important to check on the other. Research has shown that exposure to an environment with conditions as stress, mental abuse, toxins, chemicals and radiation could affect the genes making it hereditary.

The advancement in technology (7, 8) and the ability to identify hereditary diseases has encouraged many medical practitioners shifting their focus on them and in the end neglecting the environmental aspect which they consider obvious.

This scenario however dangerous, it is the reality of what is happening in the medical world and could result to increased death rates(10) as a result of diseases such as malaria, typhoid, among others.

However there is little we can do as genetics has made it possible for doctors to understand the causes of diseases such as sickle cell anemia, (11) leukemia (12) amongst many other and through research came up with solutions on how to prevent them, therefore continued research is required to completely overcome the diseases although it might be at the expense of other diseases. (13)

With the increasing success stories on genetics and breakthroughs in solutions to solve resultant problems of genes (14), less and less focus will be given to environmental factors (15) since most people tend to think that whatever you have control of will not cause much harm, but sadly this is not the truth and more people will continue succumbing to it.

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