Vexen Crabtree (vexen) wrote,
Vexen Crabtree

Horrible Genetic Diseases

A new page! "What the Worst and Most Horrible Genetic Diseases?"

The Human species, just like other animal species, is afflicted with a wide range of genetic diseases - around 4,000 of them. Some are inherited and passed on from parents to children, others are the random results of the failure of genes to reproduce properly. The cruellest ones are those that convey a heterozygote advantage (if just one chromosome has it), but which have terrible effects if both chromosomes have it. This means that there is evolutionary pressure to promulgate the gene, but if two parents both have it, then their child suffers. One example is a gene that gives resistance to malaria - if both parents have this gene, their child gets sickle-cell anaemia. In 2007 we had found 1,250 disease-related gene mutations, all of which could potentially be fixed through genetic engineering - or avoided by screening at conception. This has theological implications: If us humble Human Beings are capable of fixing these errors, how could they be part of a 'design' that is maintained by an intelligent supernatural being? In other words, if these horrible diseases were part of God's plan, then, they wouldn't have such a reachable physical cause. They'd be no way to stop them. If, on the other hand, they are not part of God's plan, or, it is God's plan that we humans strive to reduce suffering by fixing these problems, then we have a clear mandate to do whatever we can to eliminate the horror caused by some of these diseases. Also, the existence of these types of diseases means that evolution is proven to be blind and meandering rather than intentionally directed.
Tags: cystic fibrosis, disease, down's syndrome, evolution, genes, genetic disease, genetics, god, haemophilia, heterozygote advantage, huntingdon's disease, inherited disease, lesch-nyan syndrome, lissencephaly, muscular dystrophy, religion, sickel-cell anaemia, tay-sachs disease, thalassemia, theodicy
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