What Is the Purpose of Gene Therapy?

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According to Genetics Home Reference, gene therapy requires the use of healthy genes to treat illnesses. Instead of a person undergoing surgery, genes are introduced to a patient's body to replace corrupted DNA. Another method is to inactivate negative genes instead of replacing them.

Gene therapy is still in the clinical stages, and it has potential in treating such ailments as AIDS, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic. Wikipedia notes that one method of gene therapy is to transport healthy DNA to problematic genes by placing the positive gene in a carrier virus so it flows throughout the bloodstream. Another tactic is using a nucleus to fix a chromosome, which disrupts malignant genes.

Wikipedia mentions that there are two different gene therapies that include germline therapy and somatic therapy. Somatic therapy centers around treating genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and immune deficiencies. It is the process of transferring healthy genes in asexual cells for the body, and it is the most notable form of therapy. The treatment is specifically for the patient being treated, and the new genes cannot pass to future generations. For germline therapy, the germ cells merge to become a zygote that divides and adds positive genes to the body. Unlike somatic therapy, the new genes can be passed on to children, and this form of therapy is known for treating genetic and heredity ailments.