Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Human Cells and Genes

Our bodies are made up of cells and each cell contains a nucleus, and within the nucleus of most human cells are two sets of the human genome. Each genome has 23 chromosomes and each chromosome is thought to have 30,000 to 80,000 genes. Genes are made up of threadlike materials called DNA. DNA holds the chemical ingredients called bases.
When genes become active, the make proteins. Our bodies produce thousands of proteins that make up cells, hair, muscles, and many other substances. For every action in the body, proteins are involved and genes regulate these proteins. Normally, genes are copied when making new cells. At times, the genes may not be copied exactly as the original. This is usually harmless to our bodies, but on occasion these changes may cause disorders in the body.
Scientists do know that the impact of diet on genes and disease is quite complex. Looking at our genes can help determine if we are at risk for heart disease. But even if we are, will a low fat diet help us or hurt us. Another complex connection is diet and type II diabetes. There are many genes controlling or influencing blood sugar levels, insulin and even the movement of glucose (blood sugar) into the cells. There are 150 different genotypes that are associated with glucose intolerance (a disorder related to diabetes).
The impact of a disease can be affected by gene expression, which means the strength of a gene. If there are two people have genes that cause heart disease and who have the same lifestyle, one person may have little or no symptoms because the genes express themselves mildly. The other person may have major symptoms because the genes express themselves strongly.
Genes are not the only factor affecting our health. Remember that our environment, the choices we make, the food we eat, lifestyle habit, and many other factor also affect our health. Genes are only one piece of the health puzzle.

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