Genetics Technology To Improve Our Medical Future

Using DNA genetics to improve medicine

DNA Applications In Medicine

DNA technology is an exciting field nowadays. This is the analysis and manipulation of genetics or DNA material, and scientists are using DNA technology for a vast array of functions and products. A significant part of DNA technology is cloning; that’s the process of earning multiple identical copies of a gene. Cloning can bring to mind exciting sci-fi movies. But cloning gives us vaccines, pest-resistant plants, heart attack treatments as well as entirely new organisms.

DNA technology has also had a significant influence on the agriculture, pharmaceutical industry, disease treatment. And even in crime scene analyses. Let’s take a more profound look at the consequences of DNA technology on our world and the applications of this critical area of study.

Recombinant DNA

Definition

Recombinant DNA is a kind of DNA assembled in the lab. It’s generated by moving selected pieces of DNA from one organism to another.

Importance

Genetic technology is utilized for many different functions in research, medicine, agriculture, and business. The technology is essential because it enables the creation of multiple copies of genes. The insertion of foreign genes to other organisms to provide them new traits, such as antibiotic resistance or a new color.

One of the first systems in which the technology has been set up was to reform microbial cells to create foreign proteins. The technology aided the production of individual proteins on an unprecedented scale at minimal cost, thereby opening the way to study the use of proteins in more comprehensive detail and to their therapeutic practice.

By 2001, more than 80 recombinant DNA-related products recommended for vaccination and for treating illness, and an added 350 recombinant DNA-based medicines were reviewed for efficacy and safety. The technology is also an essential instrument in agriculture, used to enhance plants’ resistance to insects and boost crop yields.

Discovery

While the structure of DNA was first discovered in 1953, it was to take another two decades before scientists could create recombinant DNA.

This was aided by the realization from the 1950s that plasmids. Little mobile parts of DNA could replicate in enormous quantities separately of chromosomal bacteria DNA and that they could carry genetic data.

It was this process that provided host bacteria the potential to inherit new genes and new functions like resistance to antibiotics. Another essential tool for producing recombinant DNA was the discovery in the 1960s. From the American biochemist Stuart Linn and Swiss microbiologist Werner Arber that bacteria could shield themselves from attack by viruses that the creation of endonucleases, called restriction enzymes, which might seek out one DNA sequence in a virus and cut it in one place.

This procedure limited the reproduction of viruses and therefore, the elimination of virally infected bacteria. The primary constraint enzyme, Escscherichia coli K, was separate and refined in 1968. By Robert Yuan and Matthew Meselson at Harvard University. Two decades after Hamilton O Smith, Kent  Welcox and Thomas Kelly at Johns Hopkins University isolated. And characterized the initial site-specific restriction enzyme, afterward named HindII.

This was shown by Daniel Nathans to be a valuable tool for cutting and pasting particular DNA segments. The first protocol for producing recombinant DNA was set forward in the early 1970s by Armin Dale Kaiser Peter Lobban and at Stanford University Medical School. In 1971 Paul Berg added to Stanford University, described the usefulness of splicing and recombining genes for the first time. Two decades later, Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen, based respectively at Stanford University and the University of California in San Francisco, successfully implanted recombinant DNA into bacteria for replication.

Application

Gene cloning has a distinct range of applications. Where it has proven especially useful has been in mapping out the human genome, the development of transgenic animals, and the growth of insect-resistant plants.

It is also critical to genetic tests carried out in forensic science and archaeology as well as in tests for determining hereditary disorder and paternity. The technology also builds the backbone of  HIV and hepatitis diagnostic tests.

Recombinant DNA technology has also shown essential to the production of vaccines and protein treatments like human insulin, interferon, and human growth hormone. Additionally, it is utilized to make clotting factors for treating hemophilia and in the development of gene therapy.

Pharmaceuticals and Medicine

DNA technology and gene cloning are all essential to the pharmaceutical industry and medicine. DNA technology is used to help detect genetic diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and sickle-cell disease.

Since these diseases are carried from one generation to another, people who have such conditions can be identified (usually even before birth) and be treat before symptoms appear. DNA technology is also crucial to developing vaccines.

Vaccines are harmless variations of a pathogen, like a virus or a bacterium. Vaccines may be used to ‘trick’ your body into battling the harmless variation so that if you’re exposed to a harmful variant of the pathogen, you’ve already built up defenses.

Several ways are there in which DNA technology is use to create vaccines, such as changing the pathogen’s genes and imitating surface proteins of deadly pathogens. Therapeutic hormones, for example, insulin and human growth hormone, will also be caused by DNA technology in medicine.

Millions of people with diabetes depend on insulin therapies, and then there are the human growth hormones used to help children who suffer from dwarfism since they produce inadequate amounts of the hormone in their body.

A new Breed of Startups Tackles Genetics

A new breed of Software Company is progressing for the genetics industry. Only this year, over 50 U.S. genetics and gene therapy startups allocated at least $1 million to encourage genetics-based treatments, such as speeding trials, improving the precision of evaluations, and producing better platforms. Collectively, this new type of startup can help drive down the price of gene therapy discovery for patients.

Here are some of the startups that have contributed to discoveries in genetics and gene therapy.

Synthego

Founded by former SpaceX engineers, intends to be the ‘AutoCad of gene editing.  The company has released its first gene knock out kit. An application it was developing with major research institutions such as Salk Institute and St. Judes.

“A constant challenge for our research is trying to reduce the number of clones we need to screen to find a desired targeted modification. In our tests, the Gene Knockout Kit gave us greater than 80 percent knock-out rates for seven targets. Shares Shondra Miller, Ph.D., Director, Center for Advanced Genome Engineering at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, on Synthego’s web site. The business provides researchers a money-back guarantee you will get 50 percent or better editing in any human cell type for study use.

Paul Dabrowski, co-founder, and CEO, of Synthego, shared with me in an email that; “It’s possible to imagine a day when gene therapies are safe, effective, easy and affordable for anyone who needs them. Right now, the first CRISPR gene therapies in development, but they are not building on a ‘standard stack’. And require a lot of custom work for each indication. These therapies will be coming into the clinic and hopefully get approval in the coming years. And after that, there could be significantly more investment into standard tools.”

Edico

Supported by investors such as Qualcomm, Dell, and many others, San Diego-bas Edico is the support for bioinformatics. Their DRAGEN data platform delivers a dedicated processing environment tuned to the extensive data analysis required for gene research. According to the company, “DNA sequencing technology is advancing at an even more rapid pace than the cell phone revolution. By increasing the speed and accuracy for NGS data analysis like whole genome sequencing (WGS). Our computing platform makes it easier to discover links between DNA sequence variations and human disease.”

Trace Genomics

Started in 2015 by Poornima Parameswaran and Diane Wu at San Francisco, has been considered as the 23&Me of dirt. The agtech startup has granted $4 million in 1 round to check farm soil because of its microbiota. An initial screening price of just $199 allows farmers to get their soil samples examine by Trace. Which applies machine learning to find out not only what is in there. But what it means for crop productivity and yield.

Paradigm Diagnostics

Located in Phoenix, AZ, provides a gene-specific cancer test that aids physicians pinpoint. The ideal cancer treatments for their patients as per DNA analysis. It only raised a $7 million Series B. There is a number of software startups focus on enhancing cancer therapy. With better analysis, like early phase CureMatch, based in San Diego. “Nothing could be more important than precisely identifying DNA code alterations that drive the cancers’ growth. And use that information to decide on treatment plan,” Dr. Stephane Richard, the CEO, shared in an email.

Celmatix

Based in New York, Celmatix only earned 4.5 million dollar grant from the New York Economic Development Council for expanding in Manhattan. The business has developed a software-driven testing platform. Which helps physicians and families make fertility decisions faster and more accurately for people. “Women can now make potentially life-defining decisions about how to proactively plan for the family. They want to build and be more efficient in overcoming fertility difficulties. They are experiencing using better, more personal, information than age,” founder Piraye Beim shared earlier this year in TechCrunch.

Genoox

An Israeli startup currently located in Palo Alto is a cloud research platform for sifting massive clinical trial information quickly, and accurately. Their site states, “Simplify complex sequencing data and make impactful. Discoveries with the most innovative genetic analysis tools and applications.”

Insilico Medicine

Initially, a Latvian startup now based in Baltimore. Generates custom AI learning programs that provide insights based on biology. Their latest product is Chemistry.AI.

 

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