G ... Is for Genes; the Future Looks Much Brighter Due to Developments in Genetic Research Which Could Cure Cancer

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), March 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

G ... Is for Genes; the Future Looks Much Brighter Due to Developments in Genetic Research Which Could Cure Cancer


IN 30 years time, we could all be living to the age of 90 - thanks to genetic science.

Simple tests which can predict whether you are going to get diseases like Alzheimer's are just around the corner, according to scientists.

And in a few decades time, those that do develop heart disease, cancer and infections will be able to have medicines which are tailored to their own genetic make-up.

Gene therapy is now constantly hitting the headlines as scientists work on potential cures.

But its origins go back to the late 1970s - with a discovery by a British scientist.

Dr Richard Roberts found that genes were not laid out in the way that was previously thought.

It had been assumed that a gene was a continous segment with long double- stranded DNA molecules.

But his work showed genes could be made up of several, well-separated segments.

This led to the discovery of a process called gene splicing - which scientists believe speeds up the evolution of man. And it is errors in gene splicing that cause around 5000 hereditary diseases.

Dr Roberts' work laid the foundations for gene therapy - and he was awarded the Nobel Prize along with American researcher Phillip Sharp, who had independently made the same discoveries at the same time.

Since then, scientists have been making dozens of breakthroughs in genetic science.

In 1999, a British baby received the world's first gene treatment.

One-year-old Shah Rahman was born with a defective gene that prevented him from fighting off infection. …

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G ... Is for Genes; the Future Looks Much Brighter Due to Developments in Genetic Research Which Could Cure Cancer
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