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Genetic Disorders

Pre-natal healing

Issue Date: May 15, 1995
Researchers at the National Cancer Centre Research Institute, Tokyo, and the Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan, have made a significant discovery which may help correct genetic disorders in the womb.

Breasting cancer

Issue Date: Nov 30, 1994
AFTER 4 years of hot pursuit, a us biotech company has won the race to isolate the much sought-after breast cancer gene called BRCA I. Close on the heels of this discovery, an international group has reported mapping of another breast cancer gene called BRCA2. Together, the pair probably accounts for about two- thirds of breast cancer cases running in families, or roughly 5 per cent of all cases.

Manipulating life

Author(s): Anjani Khanna
Issue Date: Nov 15, 1994
ONCE scientists learnt that the complexity of life is determined by a single molecule-the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule-they have been striving to unravel its structure and molecule carries the code of life in the from of millions of genes.

Genetics and the great Faustian pact

Issue Date: Oct 15, 1994
IN SHAKESPEARE'S The Tempest, Prospero describes Caliban as "a devil, a born devil, on whose nature nurture can never stick". In modern terms, what Prospero means is that Caliban is a knave and that he can't help being one -- his genes determine his character.

Rogue genes induce brain disorders

Issue Date: Mar 15, 1994
LONG perplexed by the causes of more than a thousand brain disorders, neuroscientists are now increasingly finding that genes are often the culprits. Delving deep into the brain's molecular structure, scientists have identified the genetic defects that are responsible for 40 disorders of the nervous system and have a good idea of where the flaws for several other afflictions lie (Science, Vol 262, No 5134).

The ethics of genetic combinations

Issue Date: Feb 28, 1994
SINCE ancient times, we have been aware of several basic ideas of heredity. Plants and animals with superior characteristics were isolated and multiplied. Human mating practices were restricted to exclude incest, as well as matings outside specific defined groups.

It's mama's fault

Issue Date: Feb 15, 1994
PEOPLE who suffer wild swings of moods -- from ecstatic highs to melancholic lows -- have their mother to blame. At least this is what researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital, USA, suggest: Every woman on a sprawling family tree they have drawn up passes this disorder, called the manic-depressive psychosis, to her children, but no man suffering from it does.

Is violent behaviour hereditary?

Issue Date: Oct 31, 1993
VIOLENT aggression in humans may be because of a genetic defect, a recent Dutch study suggests. Han G Brunner and his colleagues at the University Hospital in Nijmegen report that a change in the gene coding for an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) may be responsible for unprovoked, aggressive outbursts displayed by certain males in a Dutch family that the researchers have been studying for the past ten years (Science, Vol 260, No 5115).

Is it a gene defect?

Issue Date: Oct 31, 1993
PEOPLE with strong body odour may probably be carrying a faulty gene, according to researchers from London's St Mary's Hospital Medical School. The researchers say they are close to nailing the gene defect because of which the carriers cannot process a chemical called trimethylamine, a product of digestion that smells of rotting fish. As a result, the chemical shows up in sweat, urine and the breath of such people.

Older than age

Issue Date: Oct 15, 1993
SCIENTISTS have discovered a gene that could make a person more prone to developing Alzheimer's disease -- a brain disorder that induces premature senility -- after the age of 65. The suspected gene codes for a protein that transports cholesterol through the bloodstream and researchers have found abnormally high levels of the protein in the brains of Alzheimer's patients (New Scientist, Vol 139, No 1887).
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