Which Career Combines DNA Technology and Medicine?
Which career combines DNA technology and medicine? The answer to that question is medical genetics and the job titles involved around it. Some of the examples are clinical geneticists, genetics counselors and clinical laboratory geneticists.
These professionals work on patients with conditions related to genetic concerns such as autism, birth defects and prenatal diagnosis.
What is Medical Genetics?
To answer the question “which career combines DNA technology and medicine?,” medical genetics is the branch of medicine that deals with the treatment and diagnosis of hereditary disorders. It involves both the research and clinical care of this field.
Careers In Medical Genetics
In relation to medical genetics, here are some careers that combine DNA technology and medicine.
1. Clinical Geneticists
A clinical geneticist interprets clinical examinations and makes the diagnosis of a test result.
Here are some of the tests a clinical geneticist reads diagnosis of:
Carrier testing: Carrier testing is for patients who wish to know a family history of a specific genetic disorder and if it can be passed on to a child by birth.
Prenatal diagnosis: Prenatal diagnosis is when a mother wants to confirm a genetic diagnosis when an ultrasound detects an abnormality in the fetus. A common genetic disorder detected for this kind of procedure is down syndrome.
Newborn screening: Newborn screening is done right after a baby is born. It conducts multiple tests after getting blood samples from a newborn and tests for disorders in their body. This procedure is a requirement in the U.S. and also in most parts of the globe.
Pharmacogenomic testing: Pharmacogenomic testing is done to confirm the likely rate of drug metabolism. This test will let the professional know what effects certain drugs might have on a patient.
Common medicine given to patients that trigger this test is warfarin.
Identification: This is the usual DNA test people commonly hear about. It is to determine the identity of an individual and check for paternity cases. Law enforcement also uses this test to determine DNA samples to track a person.
2. Clinical Laboratory Geneticists
A clinical laboratory geneticist does the tests mentioned above by sampling blood and other DNA samples.
3. Genetic Counselors
Genetic counselors guide patients on how they would treat a condition or disorder based on the diagnosis of a geneticist. It is a counselor’s job to educate a patient about the condition and the history of the inheritance.
They are the ones who can guide patients on how to treat symptoms and management of a condition.
4. Genetic Nurse
A genetic nurse is in charge of creating data for assessing risk factors of a disease, whether it be genetic or non-genetic. The doctor will then use that data for diagnosis and if a condition can be passed to a patient’s offspring. Genetic nurses are also in charge of creating detailed records of medical histories.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using DNA Technology in Medicine?
The medical field can use DNA technology in many ways. One way is called genetic engineering, also known as recombinant DNA. It forms new DNA molecules from different species used in medicine, agriculture and science.
The use of DNA technology can also be used to develop vaccines. Essentially, vaccines are made to make our bodies believe it is fighting a harmless version of a virus so that when the actual harmful version goes in you, your body will create a defense.
Some examples are the creation of insulin and human growth hormone. Insulin is used for people with diabetes, while human growth hormone is used for people with dwarfism to give them the right amount of hormones in their bodies.
In addition to this, the company MicroGenDX recently did breakthrough research for urinary tract infection treatments.
Advantages of using DNA technology to develop vaccines:
Low production cost as compared to protein vaccines.
More effective for stimulating antibody responses.
More efficient in generating T-cell responses, which effectively targets cancerous cells or those targeted by bacteria or viruses
FDA approval for DNA vaccines tends to be quicker than regular vaccines.
Disadvantages of using DNA technology to develop vaccines:
Genes controlling cell growth can be affected.
There is a risk of tolerance to the antigen being produced.
Protein immunogens will be limited.
Aside from its application in medicine, we will cover how other fields can use DNA technology.
DNA technology in agriculture. You probably heard about GMOs or genetically modified organisms before and those creating new genes from artificial things. The practical uses for these are growing larger plants with high yields, improving the nutritional content of crops, and pest control.
Advantages of DNA technology in agriculture:
Faster growing crops
Tastier and more nutritious food
Fewer pesticides used
Disadvantages of DNA technology in agriculture:
Some scientists believe that GMOs contribute to the development of cancer in a person.
Some people experience allergic reactions to food with GMOs.
These careers combine DNA technology and medicine to diagnose, treat and take care of patients with genetic disorders. Their main goal is to improve a person’s quality of life, manage symptoms, and help patients overcome these challenges.