PARACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF GENETICS 1. Agriculture (Plant and Animal Breeding) Genetics deal not only with the way in which characteristic are transmitted from one generation to the next, but also with how genes bring about the characteristics that they control. Scientist has been using genetics to bring about many changes that benefit human beings. Genetics has many practical applications which are of great value to human beings. In agriculture, for example, knowledge of principles of heredity is very important when it comes to increasing food production. The fat, beef and milk production cattle of today are a far away from the scrawny animals that used to graze the fields decades ago. Many of our domestic animals have been greatly transformed by practical applications of genetic principles such as selective breeding. One of the best-known and controversial applications of genetics is the creation and use of genetically modified crops or genetically modified organisms, such as genetically modified fish, which are used to produce genetically modified food and materials with diverse uses. The main goals in generating genetically modified crops are these; One goal, and the first to be realized commercially, is to provide protection from environmental threats, such as cold (in the case of Ice-minus bacteria), or pathogens, such as insects or viruses, and/or resistance to herbicides. There are also fungal and virus resistant crops developed or in development. They have been developed to make the insect and weed management of crops easier and can indirectly increase crop yield. Another goal in generating GMO (genetically modified organism )is to modify the quality of the produce, for instance, increasing the nutritional value or providing more industrially useful qualities or quantities of the produce. Some agriculturally important animals have been genetically modified with growth hormones to increase their size. The Am flora potato, for example, produces a more industrially useful blend of starches. Cows have been engineered to produce more protein in their milk to facilitate cheese production. Soybeans and canola have been genetically modified to produce more healthy oils. These modified crops would also reduce the usage of chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and therefore decrease the severity and frequency of the damages produced by this chemical pollution Selective breeding involves the cross-breeding of two parents, each with some good traits, to produce offspring with the good straits of both parents. Selective breeding in livestock can be carried out by means of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. Through the application of genetics, scientists have been able to produce domestic animals with superior qualities. The same can be said of the plant breeders who have been successful in producing superior varieties of food crops that we have a surplus of these crops today. Selective breeding has its benefits. New varieties of crops and livestock have been produced which have better yield, better resistance to pests and diseases, and with improved nutritional value. These new varieties have helped increase local food production and cut down food imports. 2. MEDICAL APPLICATION Medical genetics encompasses many different areas, including clinical practice of physicians, genetic counselors, and nutritionists, clinical diagnostic laboratory activities, and research into the causes and inheritance of genetic disorders. Examples of conditions that fall within the scope of medical genetics include birth defects, mental retardation, autism, and mitochondrial disorders, skeletal dysphasia, connective tissue disorders, cancer genetics, dermatogens, and prenatal diagnosis. Medical genetics is increasingly becoming relevant to many common diseases. Overlaps with other medical specialties are beginning to emerge, as recent advances in genetics are revealing etiologies for neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, pulmonary, ophthalmologic, renal, psychiatric, and dermatologic conditions. In the field of medicine, research has revealed how heredity plays a part in many diseases. Several serious human diseases, certain of the eye, and disabilities like color blindness and dwarfism are all influenced by heredity. For many diseases, an accurate diagnosis can be made more quickly and accurately through a study of one’s family history than through elaborate and expensive laboratory tests. Also, it is possible to avoid many serious mistakes in diagnosis through the application of genetic. Genetics is also important in preventing medicine. In many cases, it is possible to anticipate the development of a disease or other body abnormalities based on family history. Thus, appropriate steps can be taken to prevent its occurrence. A person with a family history of diabetes might be prepared for the onset of the disease and take the necessary steps and precautions to prevent it from getting worse. Recent advances in genetic research have provided new opportunities for maintaining health, screening for increased performance potential and identifying athletes and persons recreationally active who are at risk for pathology. Throughout medical history, traits associated with affected persons have been chosen and evaluated for their presence in other family members. It has been estimated that mankind is plagued by about 2000 genetic diseases. About 18-20% of newborns are affected by one or more hereditary problems. Many disease and abnormalities are known to have a genetic base. Hemophilia, some types of diabetes and anemia are few conditions those are in this category. In medicine genetic engineering has been used to mass-produce insulin, human growth hormones, fillister (for treating infertility), human albumin, monoclonal antibodies, ant hemophilic factors, vaccines and many other drugs. Vaccination generally involves injecting weak live, killed or inactivated forms of viruses or their toxins into the person being immunized. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed that can still confer immunity, but lack the infectious sequences. Genetic engineering is used to create animal models of human diseases. Genetically modified mice are the most common genetically engineered animal model. They have been used to study and model cancer (the nocuous), obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, substance abuse, anxiety, aging and Parkinson disease. Potential cures can be tested against these mouse models. Also genetically modified pigs have been bred with the aim of increasing the success of pig to human organ transplantation. 3. Animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the scientific breeding and management of domesticated livestock to achieve qualities desired to meet various nutritional, labor, recreational, and other derivative needs, such as leather, fur, and pharmaceutical sources. Early humans recognized traits in certain animals which they bred to create offspring with those characteristics. Animals which did not meet expectations were culled from breeding stock and sometimes castrated or slaughtered. These primitive animal husbandry methods were based on observation and experience, not genetics. Animal husbandry became professionalized in the twentieth century as scientists theorized and determined ways to manipulate livestock's genes regarding such factors as growth and biochemical activity. Jay L. Lush (1896-1982), an Iowa State University animal husbandry professor, is considered the father of modern animal breeding and genetics. His research resulted in an international breeding study center being established at Iowa State that continues to influence animal husbandry world-wide. Livestock breeders who accept genetic principles carefully choose breeding stock to develop lines that consistently produce animals with similar characteristics. Genetics technology enables breeders to cultivate meatier, tastier, larger, speedier, or sturdier animals. Aware of plant breeding experiments, animal husbandry researchers recognize the value of true-line breeding to reinforce certain ideal genetic traits such as strength and vigor associated with specific breeds. Genetically similar animals usually produce offspring which have the same characteristics. Inbreeding is a genetic strategy to produce superior specimens by mating animals closely related in an attempt to concentrate desirable genetic material in offspring. Recessive inferior genes that are not detectable in the parents, however, may become visible in the offspring which might be smaller or express some other weakness and undesirable traits. Out crossing involves breeding unrelated animals of the same breed in an attempt to develop their outstanding traits in offspring. Crossbreeding, or the mating of animals from two breeds of the same species, is another method to achieve better quality livestock who obtain higher prices at market. Hybrids such as a cross between a sheep and a goat represent desirable traits of each species. Scientists also achieved the cry preserving of many livestock species' embryos to enable efficient production to meet consumer demands and generate profits. Sophisticated genetics techniques have advanced animal husbandry. Livestock breeders can custom design animals to meet their demands. They can select the gender of animals and characteristics such as leanness that may earn more money at markets. Animal husbandry professionals also rely on genetics to save money. Geneticists use DNA markers for mapping the genetic potential of calves so that breeders can determine whether those animals will mature into viable breeding stock. 4. LEGAL APPLICATIONS There are even legal applications of the principles of heredity. Court cases involving questions of percentage can be solved by an analysis of blood types and DNA. Crimes have also been solved and suspects been charged or acquitted with the use of DNA testing. genetic technology – specifically the development of DNA "fingerprinting," which looks for certain repeating patterns within the non-coding regions of DNA (so called variable number tandem repeats or VNTRs) has led to the widespread use of genetic testing for identification. In the criminal context, fingerprinting is used to link samples found at a crime scene with specific victims or perpetrators of a crime. Genetic testing has also been used to exonerate those wrongly accused of a crime by demonstrating that their DNA does not match the evidence found at the crime scene. More recently, genetic profiling technology has permitted law enforcement to narrow the field of potential suspects by technology that permits a prediction of the likely racial or ethnic makeup of a suspect. Similarly controversial are the uses of so-called "DNA dragnets" to include and exclude suspects within a certain geographic area and the creation of DNA banks to store the samples of those convicted or accused of a crime. Beyond the criminal context, DNA fingerprinting has been used to identify victims of disasters and to confirm or disprove paternity and maternity. Advances in reproductive technologies have forced the law to broaden its notion of family from one defined by simple genetic relatedness. The use of donor eggs and sperm, gestational surrogates, and in vitro fertilization has led to cases of contested claims of parentage, which courts have had to sort through. Courts generally apply a "best interest of the child" standard in sorting through competing claims of parentage, and may take into account the claims of the genetic parents, the gestational parent, and the so-called "intended" parent in determining which parenting arrangement would be in the child’s best interest. Problems of baby mix-up in the hospital can also solve. 5. GENE THERAPY Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. In the future, this technique may allow doctors to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells instead of using drugs or surgery. Researchers are testing several approaches to gene therapy, including: Replacing a mutated gene that causes disease with a healthy copy of the gene. Inactivating, or “knocking out,” a mutated gene that is functioning improperly. Introducing a new gene into the body to help fight a disease. Although gene therapy is a promising treatment option for a number of diseases (including inherited disorders, some types of cancer, and certain viral infections), the technique remains risky and is still under study to make sure that it will be safe and effective. Types of gene therapy Somatic gene therapy In somatic gene therapy, the therapeutic genes are transferred into the somatic cells, or body, of a patient. Any modifications and effects will be restricted to the individual patient only, and will not be inherited by the patient's offspring or later generations. Somatic gene therapy represents the mainstream line of current basic and clinical research, where the therapeutic DNA transience (either integrated in the genome or as an external plasmid) is used to treat a disease in an individual. Germ line gene therapy In germ line gene therapy, Germ cells, i.e., sperm or eggs are modified by the introduction of functional genes, which are integrated into their genomes. This would allow the therapy to be heritable and passed on to later generations. Although this should, in theory, be highly effective in counteracting genetic disorders and hereditary diseases, many jurisdictions prohibit this for application in human beings, at least for the present, for a variety of technical and ethical reasons. Gene therapy is the use of DNA as a pharmaceutical agent to treat disease. It derives its name from the idea that DNA can be used to supplement or alter genes within an individual's cells as a therapy to treat disease. The most common form of gene therapy involves using DNA that encodes a functional, therapeutic gene in order to replace a mutated gene. Other forms involve directly correcting a mutation, or using DNA that encodes a therapeutic protein drug (rather than a natural human gene) to provide treatment. In gene therapy, DNA that encodes a therapeutic protein is packaged within a "vector", which is used to get the DNA inside cells within the body. Once inside, the DNA becomes expressed by the cell machinery, resulting in the production of therapeutic protein, which in turn treats the patient's disease. 6. GENETIC COUNSELING Genetic counseling is the process by which patients or relatives, at risk of an inherited disorder, are advised of the consequences and nature of the disorder, the probability of developing or transmitting it, and the options open to them in management and family planning. This complex process can be separated into diagnostic (the actual estimation of risk) and supportive aspects Genetic counseling is the process of: 1 .Evaluating family history and medical records 2. Ordering genetic tests 3. Evaluating the results of this investigation 4. helping parents understand and reach decisions about what to do next The goals of genetic counseling are to increase understanding of genetic diseases, discuss disease management options, and explain the risks and benefits of testing. Counseling sessions focus on giving vital, unbiased information and non-directive assistance in the patient's decision making process. Seymour Kessler, in 1979, first categorized sessions in five phases: an intake phase, an initial contact phase, the encounter phase, the summary phase, and a follow-up phase. The intake and follow-up phases occur outside of the actual counseling session. The initial contact phase is when the counselor and families meet and build rapport. The encounter phase includes dialogue between the counselor and the client about the nature of screening and diagnostic tests. The summary phase provides all the options and decisions available for the next step. If counselees wish to go ahead with testing, an appointment is organized and the genetic counselor acts as the person to communicate the results. Families or individuals may choose to attend counseling or undergo prenatal testing for a number of reasons. Family history of a genetic condition or chromosome abnormality Molecular test for single gene disorder Increased maternal age (35 years and older) Increased paternal age (40 years and older) Abnormal maternal serum screening results or ultrasound findings Increased niche translucency measurements on ultrasound Strong family history of cancer Predictive testing for adult-onset conditions If a person is diagnosed with a genetic condition, the genetics professional provides information about the diagnosis, how the condition is inherited, the chance of passing the condition to future generations, and the options for testing and treatment. 7. FORESTRY Over the past 20 years, DNA-based biotechnologies have been applied to agricultural production and many crops with new and useful attributes have been cultivated in various countries. The adoption of this new technology by farmers has been swift, and benefits in terms of increased production per unit land and environmental benefits are becoming obvious. In forestry, the application of biotechnology is somewhat lagging behind and to date there are no commercial plantations with genetically modified trees. However, most tree species used in plantation forestry have been genetically transformed, and results demonstrate the successful and correct expression of new genes in these plants. At the same time, this new technology is being viewed with concern, very similar to the concerns voiced over the use of genetic engineering in agriculture. This paper discusses some of the issues involved for world forestry, with particular focus on future demand for timber and timber products and how modern biotechnology can contribute to meet the growing demand. Tree genetic engineering techniques will be outlined, and results reviewed for a number of species. Concerns over the use of this new technology will be described and analyzed in relation to scientific considerations. RAISE IN ETHICAL, SOCIAL AND ECONIMIC ISSUES DUE TO GENETICS Data on human genetic variation help scientists to understand human origins, susceptibility to illness and genetic causes of disease. Destructive episodes in the history of genetic research make it crucial to consider the ethical and social implications of research in genomics, especially human genetic variation. The analysis of ethical, legal and social implications should be integrated into genetic research, with the participation of scientists who can anticipate and monitor the full range of possible applications of the research from the earliest stages. The design and implementation of research directs the ways in which its results can be used, and data and technology, rather than ethical considerations or social needs, drive the use of science in unintended ways. Here we examine forensic genetics and argue that all geneticists should anticipate the ethical and social issues associated with non medical applications of genetic research. Data on human genetic variation are being generated and used to better understand human origins, susceptibility to illness and genetic causes of disease. The US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) recently proposed the next stage in this work to carry forward and expand these goals and to reaffirm a commitment, present since the start of the Human Genome Project, that appropriate uses of this information will be based on ethical, legal and social science analysis. The history of destructive episodes in genetic research makes this attention to the ethical and social implications of genomics research essential. This is especially true of human genetic variation research, because it provides the opportunity to find the genetic basis of individual and group differences. The consideration of ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genetic research will not be maximally effective if it separates the creation of knowledge from its uses or if it sees the solution to appropriate uses of science as coming from a "cohort of scholars in ethics, law, social science, clinical research, theology, and public policy” rather than emerging with and from the science. Thus, ELSI analysis should be integrated into science, with participation of scientists; should be conducted proactively, rather than after scientific research projects are conducted; and should anticipate and monitor applications of research. A collaborative effort that centrally involves scientists and dialog among many scientific communities is necessary to shape science for responsible uses, because the way in which science is designed and carried out fundamentally affects how it can be used. Too often, the mere availability of data and technology, rather than ethical considerations or social needs, drives its use in unintended ways; therefore, the awareness and involvement of scientists in thinking about downstream uses is needed at the earliest stages of research. NHGRI is a leader in the concept of ELSI analysis and recently involved scholars from a diversity of backgrounds in planning large-scale projects such as the Hap Map. Scholars from anthropology, law, ethics and other disciplines have had input in the earliest stages of designing, carrying out and reporting genetic research intended to identify genes involved in diseases, protection against illness and responses to drugs. This multidisciplinary approach was perceived to 'slow' the research while issues such as informed consent, community consultation and benefits were ironed out. But lack of attention to issues important to the communities that are affected by the research, and on whose behalf the research is purportedly done, can also slow or even halt research and breed deep distrust of scientists that can only hurt future efforts to carry out or rise funding for future research. Therefore, time spent making explicit the ever-present ethical and social issues and incorporating them into study design is better conceptualized as an integral part of the research process. The Hap Map has been an exemplar of integrated and proactive ELSI analysis in genetic variation research. Similar efforts have been organized for other genetic research projects, such as the development of a pharmacokinetics research network and database funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Far less attention has been paid to the application of genetic variation research for non medical purposes, however. The changing debate over gene patenting and the possible connection between patent law and the ethical and policy concerns associated with the use of genetic testing technologies (e.g. the premature implementation and inappropriate marketing of genetic tests). Arguably, patent law helps to form the market forces that lead to these concerns. It is suggested that existing safeguards fail to control these concerns because of, for example, a lack of provider knowledge and an absence of an adequate regulatory framework. While patent law can be associated with a number of ethical and policy concerns, the article also suggests that patent law may have a positive role in reducing them. Patent law provides policy makers and the public with a focal point – the patent holder – upon which to attach accountability for ethical and legal conduct.