Ural Federal University: Predispositions to Some Diseases Are Easy to Identify Like Eye Color

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Modern science makes it possible to read a person’s genome in a few days. This helps scientists identify predispositions to various hereditary diseases on the basis of DNA decoding. This technique is effective because it can be used to prevent the development of diseases by changing a person’s lifestyle or prescribing rational treatment.

However, genetic tests do not allow us to determine in advance a person’s mental abilities or predict professional aptitudes and hobbies, much less set them to the right characteristics. At the moment, there are no reliably detected genes that describe a person’s individual abilities and characteristics. This is why attempts to change one’s appearance, such as eye color, are impossible. Aleksandr Ermoshin, Associate Professor at the Department of Experimental Biology and Biotechnologies of Ural Federal University, spoke about this on the air of Komsomolskaya Pravda radio.

“Molecular biology allows us to learn the structure of genes, describe the features of their functioning and figure out their role in the human phenotype, while genetic engineering helps modify them. One of the initial areas related to genetic research is the prediction of susceptibility to socially dangerous non-communicable diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease). Over time, scientists accumulate an archive of genetic markers characteristic of a particular disease, and we can warn a person in advance to prevent the development of the disease. However, changing appearance through gene editing, especially for adults, is simply not possible. This is due to the phenomenon of pleiotropy which is the multiple influence of a gene, when an attempt to change one gene will lead to changes in several characteristics in the body. It is important to note that sometimes several genes can be responsible for one characteristic at once, and changing a dozen genes can be life-threatening,” explains Aleksandr Ermoshin.

As the scientist notes, preventive medicine and medicine in general can effectively use the results of decoding the genome of a particular individual or even a population to create medications. The study of genetic markers shows that sex and ethnic differences also affect differences in human genomes. Therefore, what may be a cure for some people may be ineffective or even dangerous for others.

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