The genome revolution: what does it consist of?
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The genome revolution is one of the most important in the history of mankind because it encompasses all the scientific and technological advances that revolve around the study of the human genome. The purpose of these advances is primarily to extend the life of human beings and to promote a better quality of life.
According to information from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the human genome contains the information that characterizes us as members of our species, which is encoded in a sequence of 3,000 million nitrogenous bases in the form of a double chain and contains about 30,000 genes.
This finding was made in 2003, when the sequence of the first human genome was completed at a cost of 3,000 million dollars; today it can be obtained for only 1,000 and will probably soon cost only 100 dollars -sequencing means determining the exact order of the base pairs in a segment of DNA-. Expectations of success in genomics are growing with molecular biology, and medicine is expected to be turned upside down in the next few years.
Today, people can order genetic tests and find out about their vulnerability to certain diseases by sending samples by mail, and more and more companies are making great strides in the field of human genomics.
As for application in specific diseases, in 2014 the Institute of Oncological and Molecular Medicine of Asturias (IMOMA), performed cancer diagnostics based on genomic sequencing. In 2016, they made the leap to deafness and blindness because they are linked to genome alterations.
Currently, there are two types of genomic studies possible to perform on cancer patients. The first is performed on the tumor genome and is applied to those who are in stage IV (metastasis) and who have not responded to previous therapies. The second type of study consists of analyzing the patient’s own genome to identify hereditary predispositions to the development of the disease.
Today, thanks to technological progress, greater globalization of the economy and new interests in the field of medicine, a genome sequence can be obtained for almost ten million times less money.
CRISPR-Cas9: the panacea of the future
The CRISPR-Cas9 technique has revolutionized gene editing, since it makes it possible to modify, introduce or correct mutations in DNA, with fields of action ranging from the fight against chronic diseases to the improvement of transgenic crops.
This technique can be used in practically any situation in which it is desired to modify the DNA sequence and is gaining relevance for generating disease models that were previously barely detectable, as well as for the study of new drugs. In addition, CRISPR allows a modified gene to be safely inherited, which can change entire generations in a short time.
CRISPR is currently positioned as a powerful tool, since due to its low price and ease of use it has been adopted by thousands of laboratories around the world.
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