How scientists use DNA
Name: Peter and Edmund
We would like to know some ways that scientists use DNA.
For instance, we have heard that scientists used DNA to
change fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, so they
don't spoil so fast.
We appreciate your help with this investigation, because
we have found a lot of information on how the police use
DNA to help identify criminals, but we need to find out
about other uses of DNA.
We are in the first grade.
Thank you for your help.
Scientists use DNA is many ways. Some of those ways will show up
in the news, like the police work or the tomatoes. Most often, though,
scientists use DNA (and the ways they can work with DNA) to try to
find out how things work - like how plants or animals grow and develop,
or why bone cells are different than muscle cells, or how the brain
works. Sometimes scientists and physicians (doctors) used DNA to help
figure out what disease is making someone sick, and can even use DNA
to help make some people well. I'll be glad to tell you more, if you
want to hear more!
Steve J Triezenberg
DNA is being used my medical doctors in an attempt to cure some human disease.
One strategy is to replace the mutant (non-functioning) gene with a normal gene.
This strategy can be used when the cell is constantly dividing. One form of genetic
immunodeficiency disease is caused by a defective gene in a bone marrow cell and has
been cured by this approach. Some cells are not in a state of constant division
but the cells can be infected with a virus that has been engineered not to cause
disease and also to contain the normal gene. Cystic fibrosis is a lung disease
caused by a mutant gene. Scientists have placed the normal gene in a disabled
virus and infected kids and restored partial normal lung function. One problem
is that all the cells that need to be infected are not and the procedure needs
to be repeat I think another problem is the children develop antibodies
(resistance) to the infection. Another problem is that the defective gene
also causes other organs to function abnormally. There are other strategies
that you may be able to read about. DNA has may other uses. One of the
most far-fetched uses (at least in my mind because I don't understand it!) is to
uses DNA molecules as the basis for the development of molecular computing chips!
Michael B Lomonaco
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Update: June 2012