In a very primitive way we are on the road to Immortality.
Within the nucleus of nearly every one of the 100 trillion cells that make up our body is a Computer Program of enormous complexity. This Computer Program is our DNA.
We can now for the first time in Man's history read the message this Computer Program produces.
We can read this message by so-called DNA sequencing.
What is DNA sequencing?
DNA sequencing is the process of determining the exact order of the 3 billion chemical building blocks which make up the DNA of the 24 different human chromosomes.
This sequencing revealed the estimated 20,000-25,000 human genes within our DNA as well as the regions controlling them.
What are Genes?
Genes are segments of DNA that are the basic functional units of heredity. Genes are determined by an ordered sequence of chemical bases found in a unique position on a specific chromosome. Their "blueprint" guides protein production, which determines how different cells in the body function. Inherited genes also control our unique set of physical traits.
Think of your genes as a blueprint for cell growth and function. Abnormalities in the DNA are like typographical errors. They may provide the wrong set of instructions, leading to faulty cell growth or function.If there is an error in a gene, that same error will appear in all the cells that contain the same gene. This is like having a blueprint in which all the copies have the same typographical error.
So now we have what is basically a blueprint of the Human Body.
What are we going to do with that blueprint?
Just because we have the blueprint does not mean we understand it. We are just starting to nibble at the edges.
What we would like to do is create personalized health care designed just for us.
Humans have the same DNA sequence except for less than 1% that differs from person to person.
The variations in this small percentage are very important because if they do not follow the usual pattern there may be a chance that the body is more or less susceptible to certain diseases.
Our behaviour in most cases can influence to what extent a gene is expressed as a disease.
Smoking, drinking, drugs, overeating can all cause a gene or a combination of genes to express as a disease.
There are now tests available using cells collected either from a simple mouth rinse procedure or from a single blood draw that measure selected segments of the genetic code that differ from individual to individual. These are called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs for short.
So by looking at the exceptions we can now see where we might be at risk in future.
These exceptions are not certainties but possible risk factors which could affect our health if we do not use preventative measures.
Historical Medicine treated a person only after he developed the disease.
We now have the ability to not only know to what unique diseases we are at risk, but to know all of them, so we could theoretically protect ourselves against all of them and as healthcare providers become more knowledgeable, better diets, vitamins and exercise programs will be developed that will form the basis of more longevity.
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Frank Vanderlugt is very interested in Life Extension
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