There are approximately 25,000 genes in every human being. These, inherited at birth, are responsible for physical and emotional attributes.
Some of these genes may be defective, making a person predisposed to certain diseases which can strike within their life time. Alternately, a person may carry defective genes that do not affect him, but remain dormant to be passed down generations. This means, that some generations down the line a descendant will be stricken by this disease.
One of the primary goals of genetic engineering is the prevention or eradication of such genetic diseases. The modus operandi would be to identify and repair such genes, or to introduce other genes that are able to negate or combat the detrimental effects of the defective genes. Another objective is the use of gene therapy to find remedies to other non-genetic diseases. Over the last decade GE has already been harnessed, with great success, in treating autoimmune and cardiac diseases.
Genetic Engineering has been applied to the field of human reproduction, pharmaceuticals and medicine. Superior and more sophisticated medicines have been developed. Bio-engineered insulin and the human growth hormone are two such examples. Genetic diseases are now being identified at the fetus stage to enable doctors to take remedial action. It is hoped in time that such diseases will be successfully treated before birth.
Ethical aspects aside, it is the goal of genetic engineering to achieve the utopian level of a disease-free world.
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