Why is the study of genetics important?


Quick Answer

The study of genetics is important because it helps scientists identify and understand diseases. By gaining a deeper understanding of the body, scientists can determine how likely members of the population are likely to inherit a disease and help people manage their risks accordingly.

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Full Answer

Around nine in 10 diseases arise because of genetic susceptibility. With the study of genetics, it is possible to predict some of them and reduce the risks. Although scientists do not have a full understanding of all genetic determinants of disease, research helps them reveal more information, which in turn gives them a chance to allocate more effective medications and treatments.

In terms of family health, studying genetics allows people to prepare for inheritable disease. For example, both sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis have strong genetic components. Additionally, certain people are more likely to fall ill as a result of the environment around them or the food they eat because of their genes. Understanding genetics helps physicians understand why otherwise healthy people experience serious conditions at a young age.

One particularly useful example of genetic screening is the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation test. Women who inherit either form of this gene mutation are far more likely than other women to develop aggressive breast or ovarian cancer at a young age. When they are aware of this, they can opt for a preventative mastectomy, and they can freeze their eggs in preparation for fertility treatments in the future.

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