The Ever Expanding Field of Biochemistry and Genetics

In the 1990’s, only 30% of all in-vitro fertilizations were successful, and of the 30%, only 20% resulted in live births. In 1999, my parents were fortunate enough to be part of that lucky 20%. Growing up with my mother constantly reminding me how lucky I was to be born, I now understand that as a member of this lucky 20 percent, I have a responsibility to serve the community and to help other individuals. Using my expanding interest, knowledge, and personal connections, I will pursue a degree in biochemistry followed by a career in biogenetics where I will research and gather data that will be relevant in the near future. The field of biogenetics has expanded exponentially over the last decade; there is no telling what will be discovered next. I wish to one day help struggling parents to be as lucky as my parents were with me.

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In vitro means “in glass”; egg and sperm are manually combined in a glass petri dish (image provided by “NPR“)

     In simple terms, biochemistry is the collective study of all the chemical processes within a living organism. After earning their degree, graduates have multiple options. Many biochemists work in a lab or office conducting various research experiments and analyzing results for multiple purposes. For example, the latest biochemistry research experiments have ranged from studying ocean acidification due to climate change to the discovery of new active agents in sugarcane plants that can potentially aid individuals with sleeping disorders related to stress . All of these research programs have substantial effects on the community as a whole. Biochemistry research is essential to the welfare of all living creatures on earth. 
 

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Gene Editing of Human Embryos (image provided by “Science News”)

As I mentioned, the field of genetics is constantly evolving. From new CRISPR technology to growing human organs in sheep, the possibilities are endless. CRISPR technology is the newest, most advanced method of editing human genomes. This technology can help thousands of couples around the globe who are possible carriers of horrid diseases. Editing human genomes can eliminate the risk of parents passing on the genes for these diseases. The goal of CRISPR technology is to be able to turn off certain genes containing certain risk factors. The other recent research project involves the growing of human cells inside of a sheep. Animals with a different organism’s cells growing inside of it, called a chimeras, have been created in smaller scales using mice. However, researchers at the NIH have recently been successful in growing human cells in larger animals such as sheep or pigs. The idea behind these projects is to successfully grow human organs inside other organisms. This would potentially save the lives of thousands of patients waiting on the organ transplant list. Furthermore, we could one day eliminate the need for human organ donors all together.

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(Image provided by “The Genetics Literacy Project”)

     Essentially, biochemistry and genetics research is relevant to all aspects of society including the environment and medicine. Most of these advances can have extensive benefits in the near future. Studies on ocean acidification can lead to the salvation of our ocean’s coral reef, while studies on biochemical agents in plants can potentially lead to the creation of new, useful medications. Many families and patients will be spared of much pain and suffering by eliminating disease bearing genes before birth or by providing patients on the transplant list with quicker organ donations. There is no limit to the revolutionary techniques and technologies currently being studied.

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