What are Stem Cells?
Our bodies hold way over two hundred different types of cells. Each different kind are specialised, which means they have features that they need to function, for example:
- Cells in our eyes detect light
- Muscle Cells Help our body move
- Red blood cells carry the Oxygen round our bodies
- Gametes help us reproduce.
After an egg fertilises, it makes copies of itself. After about four days there is a ball of cells, this is called an embryo.
How does Gene Therapy work?
People who encounter Cystic Fibrosis are treated with physiotherapy and a regular dose of antiobiotics. But as scientists discover more about genetic disorders and faulty genes they may be able to improve treatments using gene therapy.
It is sometimes possible to replace the faulty gene with a health one. This is difficult because the healthy alleles have to get into the nuclei of millions of cells but it does work sometimes.
If Gene Therapy because common it would change lives. For example someone with CF wouldn't need consistant Physiotherapy and antiobiotics. For someone with another Genetic Disease such as Breast Cancer, they wouldnt need to undergo surgery.
What are Genes and DNA?
Your characterisitics depend on the genes you inherit from your parents. A characterstic may be something that contributes to your appearance, or how easily you play a musical instrument. Each gene is an instruction for your characteristics.
You have two versions of each chromosone. One from your mother and one from your father. You inherit equal amounts of genes from each parent. But the mixture of genes is different in every single person. This is why you look a little bit like your parents or siblings, but not exactly identical.
Genes are made of a chemical called DNA. DNA carries a chemical code which tells a cell how it should work. Everytime your cells divide, the DNA makes a copy of itself. Sometimes this goes wrong, and altering just a tiny part of your DNA could change your characterstic.
What are Clones and Transgenic Organisms?
A clone is a group of identical plants or animals which all get their genes from one parent. Mammals reproduce sexually and have two parents,
Dolly the sheep had no father. Her 'egg donor' mother was a Scottish Blackface Sheep. One of her unfertilised eggs had it's nucleas removed. this was replaced by a nucleas from the body of her 'gene mother' a Finn Dorset Sheep. Dolly was a Finn Dorset Sheep with the exact same genes as her 'gene mother'.