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Custom Genes and Heart Disease essay paper sample

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My parents passed away when I was a teenager – both were victims of heart attacks. They were obese, smokers and diabetic, a combination that invited trouble and ultimately death. I have come to realize that they were largely responsible for their health conditions. They could have controlled smoking and even obesity to a large extent and in turn improved their lifestyles and heart health. Until I came across the article "Tiny Clue Reveals a New Path toward Heart Disease" on Biology News Net, I staunchly believed that heart attacks were a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. This new piece of information has been an eye-opener to the fact that heart attacks can pass through genes.

 I do not smoke and am not obese however I have been diagnosed to be pre-diabetic. Because I do not want to step into the ‘Diabetic’ bandwagon I have always maintained a healthy lifestyle. However news about this gene is making me think of the possibility of me ending up with heart disease despite all the precautions I have taken. Another reason for me being interested in the article is, IF there is a way to find out who can be affected by heart disease and if their condition can be pre-diagnosed and treated, it would save many lives and push a lot more to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Researchers have found that a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) in the Kalirin gene differs in individuals with and without heart disease. Kalirin has been found to be responsible for the production of a protein that aids the migration of cells within smooth muscle. The SNP that has been identified is believed to alter the level of that particular protein leading to cells congregating in a spot and forming a plaque in the vessels to the heart (Biology News Net 2007) – a sure fire recipe for a heart attack. If my parents had been diagnosed with their conditions when they were considerably young I believe that I might be one of those people with the SNP.

That adds one more condition to my list of risk factors. I am certain that the effects of the gene can be suppressed with the positive effects of my lifestyle, but there always is the question of ‘What if?’What if my healthy habits alone are not enough to combat the effects of this SNP? What if my pre-diabetic condition acts up on me and increases my level of risk?

In any case I would not want to pass on the risk factors to my children. I have read that hereditary diseases can be eradicated before birth by genetically modifying eggs (Richard Alleyne 2009). Now that a connection between genes and cardiovascular disease has been established I look forward to the time it is discovered that cardiovascular disease can be eradicated before birth much like other diseases or conditions.

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