The discovery of DNA opened up new channels of research for humans. Some say that DNA was first discovered in the 1950s. However, there’s a debate that it was first discovered much earlier in the 1860s by Johann Miescher.
Whenever it gets discovered, DNA does offer us some really fascinating insights into the world of genetics. This article is aimed to understand the role of DNA and better our understanding of human genetics.
A lot of research goes around DNA. But why is it so? Because DNA is the material that plays a significant role in our lives. Billions of dollars are spent so that we can understand DNA better. There are reasons why the area of study is so promising.
Let’s look at how studying and understanding the DNA better can improve human lives:
A better understanding of the human history
Figuring out our origin is still a puzzle that scientists are working hard to piece up together. DNA offers some marvelous insights in this regard. By studying DNA, we can potentially know a lot of answers of how we evolved and what events led to our current status.
Studying DNA also helps us understand human behaviors that took place over time throughout history. For instance, by analyzing the DNA, we can easily know who the ancestors of a person are. DNA studies have also shown us the migration patterns of our ancestors, and that helps us understand better how certain people get to be in places where they currently reside.
The genetic makeover of a person who contracts disease is affected. By studying the DNA, we can figure out the reasons why a person got the disease and can address the root cause. While genetic diseases aren’t yet treatable, research is going on with hopes that one day we can modify genetics and cure genetic diseases.
However, studying genetics lets us know the probability of contracting certain diseases. That means that people can know the risks of diseases that they may catch in the future and take the necessary preventative measures to evade the risk.
Getting genetic profiling done can also give insights to couples who wish to produce a baby. They can also know whether there’s a risk involved of diseased genes being passed to the baby. This can help them make informed decisions.
DNA and genetic studies can come in super handy in criminal cases. This identification of the potential use of genetic material to assist with criminal cases came to the spotlight in the 1990s. So it’s a fairly recent phenomenon but has helped law enforcement agencies a lot. (DebbieKennett, 2019)
Using genetic studies and finding the relevant DNAs on the crime scene can help agencies identify the culprits fairly easily.
This one isn’t a reality, but a potential that can come true in the future. Researchers are working on modifying the gene codes and making it a certain way that’s wanted. This is also somewhat a controversial topic because some believe that gene modification means meddling with nature.
Whether it’s unethical or not, that’s a thing to be discussed, but the upside that gene enhancement offers is huge.
The deeper we get to know about DNA is how in-depth our knowledge about humans and other lives on the planet will be. Labs and research facilities all around the world are working on DNA studies and coming up with new insights every day.
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DebbieKennett. (2019). Using genetic genealogy databases in missing persons cases and to develop suspect leads in violent crimes. Forensic Science International, 107-117.