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Journal of Clinical Genetics and Genomics

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Playing with DNA

Author(s): Sonali Mohapatra* and Dr. Soumendra Ghosh

Today our understanding of “genes” has reached such a level of sophistication and depth that we are no longer studying and altering genes in test tubes but in their native context in human cells. Way back in 1864, in a Moravian Monastery, a priest named “Gregor Johan Mendel” discovered “gene”, though he was not aware of what he had discovered. The word gene was coined a decade later. Later DNA was identified as “gene” the source of genetic information when scientists showed keen interest in deciphering the morphological, structural and functional aspects of genetic material i.e. DNA. In the seventies, two technologies gene sequencing and gene cloning allowed scientists to manipulate genes. Millions of copies of gene hybrid were produced in the test tubes, the hybrids were then inserted into the host cells producing novel gene. In the beginning of this century man was able to read his genomes. The draft sequence of human genome was published in 2001. New tools and techniques were developed to manipulate DNA with more precision and accuracy. Some of them are briefly described in this paper. Scientists are in a cross road, whether they should carry on the program of gene manipulation there by destabilizing the genetic equilibrium which was stabilized in millions of year

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