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Hansen's Disease in Ancient DNA Samples - Essay Example

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The essay describes Hansen's Disease in ancient DNA samples, the history of the disease and the ways which were implemented for giving clear ideas about the prevalence of leprosy among ancient community…
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Hansens Disease in Ancient DNA Samples
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Download file to see previous pages Mycobacterium leprae, the etiological agent of leprosy was identified by G. H. A. Hansen in the 19th century and therefore leprosy is also called as Hansen's Disease (Alter et al., p.19). “It is transmitted through mucous secretions of the diseased individual. The symptoms of the disease include hypopigmented lesions enlarged peripheral nerves and skin anesthesia”(Piris et al., p.125) “Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, remains an important public health problem throughout the world. The causative microbe in Hansen's disease is Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast organism that is difficult to grow in vitro” (Legendre et al., p.27). Hansen's disease is one of the oldest diseases reported in the history. Holy Bible, both New Testaments and Old Testaments, say many incidents related to the leprosy patients. As in the case of AIDS or HIV, it is difficult to predict how leprosy evolved in this world. Medical scientists are currently analyzing ancient DNA samples to find out more details about the origin of Hansen's disease. Anuja et al (2011) pointed out that “tissue changes in oral tissues do happen in some cases of leprosy and the causative organism Mycobacterium leprae can be demonstrated” (Anuja et al., p. 31). ...
DNA is the molecule that contains the genetic information needed for a living organism to develop and function. When an organism dies the DNA molecules start to degrade, breaking up into shorter strands. These fragments are sections (?sequences?) of the original DNA and can be used in ancient DNA comparisons and identifications (Elderset al., p.2). “Ancient DNA studies allowed us to study organisms that went extinct more than ten thousand years ago, to reconstruct their phenotypic traits and evolution” (Grigorenko et al.). According to Mitchel et al., (2005), “Ancient DNA contains information pertinent to numerous fields of study including evolution, population genetics, ecology, climatology, medicine, archeology, and behavior” (Mitchel et al., p.265). However, it is extremely difficult to collect such DNAs because of the inability of it to survive longer periods. Taking DNA’s from archaeological human remains will help the medical science immensely in getting more details about leprosy. But, it is extremely difficult to detect DNA remnants in Human skeleton collected from countries in which hot and humid conditions exist. For example, it is difficult to collect suitable DNA samples from human skeletons found in Asian countries because of the comparatively hot climate exists in this part of the world. An integral aspect of any ancient DNA (aDNA) work is to deal with inevitably aged and degraded specimens, most commonly bones or teeth. Despite countless samples being available, only a few are suitable for aDNA studies as little or no DNA has survived over time. In the attempt to facilitate the identification of samples with adequate DNA preservation, indirect measures of preservation have been ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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