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Opportunities and Limitations of DNA Screening Technologies - Essay Example

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The paper "Opportunities and Limitations of DNA Screening Technologies" highlights the development of molecular tools for genetic screening has created a revolution in our understanding of the molecular basis of genetic disease, facilitating the discovery of disease-causing genes as well as the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis…
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Opportunities and Limitations of DNA Screening Technologies
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Download file to see previous pages The basic tools used in the molecular screening of inherited genetic disorders were developed in the 1980s and 1990s and led to the identification of several hundred genes involved in the genesis of human single gene disorders (Altschuler, 2008).  These discoveries were enhanced by the results of the DNA sequence analysis of the human genome in the early days of this century.  Today, clinicians and researchers alike are afforded a close-up molecular view of the human genome, which has opened the door to molecular assessments of gene structure and function that were unthinkable a half century ago (Orrita et al, 1989).  The tools of molecular medicine are largely built upon the intrinsic chemical and biophysical properties of DNA (Cotton, 1993).  Among the most important of these in terms of their methodological applications, is the base pair complementarity of the nucleotide bases which allows single stranded DNAs of specific nucleotide sequences to function as probes for molecular hybridization to DNA targets with similar complementary base sequences (Altschuler, 2008).  The application of this chemical property of DNA is the basis of blot hybridization methods of Southern blot analysis, DNA fingerprinting, genomic in situ hybridization, Northern blot analysis, DNA microarrays, and others (Keen et al, 1991). 

The tools of DNA sequence analysis are comprised of the dideoxy method developed by Frederick Sanger (Sanger et al, 1977).  This important methodology is a direct application of the physiological mechanism of semi-conservative DNA replication.  the identification of a DNA base sequences.  The application of this technology and the use of supercomputers to speed up the analysis of sequence data was the technological basis of the human genome project that accomplished the identification of all three billion bases of human DNA within several years. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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