An End To Genetic Diseases

The United States has a very diverse heritage. There is no "American" race. Americans are the blending of many cultures throughout many generations. With this blending of cultures comes a blending of genes. In the past, genes have not been well understood. They were not understood until Mendel did experiments on plants to find out why different plants of the same species had different characteristics. His goal was to find the key to unlock the mystery of inheritance (Copeland and Hammer 12). After many years of collecting data, he unlocked the door. He discovered that the child gets one element from each parent for every trait. He also discovered that one of them is more "dominant," and shows up over the other, recessive, one (Brown 16). He published his results, but their significance was not understood at the time. "Sixteen years after his death, three people believed to have the key. Looking for other results to verify the ideas, they came across Mendel\'s results" (14). Their data agreed, and with this a new science was born - the science of Genetics (15). Due to modern medicine, such as antibiotics and rehabilitation, many genetic diseases have been allowed to survive. In nature, these diseases would not have survived to the extent that they do now. Advances in science and medicine have allowed these problems to thrive. Further advances in science may be able to terminate genetic diseases through cloning.
Genetic problems have plagued the United States for centuries. Genetic diseases and mutations are more prevalent in today\'s world than ever before, due to advances in medicine (CHMG). Charles Darwin\'s theory of evolution stated that only the strong survive (Lutz 10). Modern medicine has changed that theory by allowing the weak, or people with genetic diseases, to survive. Genetic defects are caused by mutations. "When genes change in any way, they produce permanent new characteristics called mutations" (Copeland and Hamer 19). On that note, "there have been many which have had little effect on us, while others have been important in our development" (19). Along with the necessary mutations, there are "mutations that can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, disease" (Brown 16).
There are many factors that may cause mutation, such as genetic accidents, environmental hazards, and human sources. The genetic accidents are regular mutations in the cells where "chemical changes in the cell cause a breakdown in the normal structure of a gene or a group of genes" (28). Mutation is expected to be "one in every fifty thousand to one hundred thousand times the cell is copied. Despite odds, accidents do occur" (28), which can result in deformities and illness. The only way this can affect a child is if the mutation occurs in either the sperm or the egg. Human causes of mutation include x-rays, nuclear fallout, and toxic chemicals. The environment can cause mutations as well. Sources of these are exposure to the sun\'s radiation and to earth\'s radioactive materials (Copeland and Hamer 19). "Radiation is an extremely dangerous mutagen because a person can get a deadly dose and not feel it" (Brown 28-29). As a matter of fact, "the mutation may not show up until the affected person has children, and the child has the mutation" (29).
These mutations would not have been as large of a problem if medicine had not become as advanced. Modern treatments and antibiotics have allowed these mutations to thrive, whereas in nature they would not have been as prevalent. In this society, treatments are available for many genetic diseases. These treatments prolong the life of the individual carrying it by making the ill patient more healthy. Antibiotics prolong their life as well. Antibiotics do this by treating the symptoms of the diseases. This allows the people to reproduce, spreading the bad gene. Without these methods of treatment, reproduction of these diseases would have been greatly reduced. Many mutations that have survived are now diseases that are causing a great deal of problems.
Diabetes is a genetic disease that affects the lives of many Americans. This is not just an isolated disease where a few people have it; it is very widespread. "More than seven million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and about five million more have it