Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Genetic Map

inthenews

A COMPREHENSIVE chart of the genetic differences between human beings has been drawn up for the first time, promising breakthroughs in the hunt for the genes that influence common diseases such as cancer, asthma and diabetes.

The International Haplotype Map, or HapMap, provides an index to the human genetic code, allowing scientists to identify inherited variations that affect human health with much greater speed and simplicity…

…While the Human Genome Project has sequenced the 99.9 per cent of DNA that is shared by every person, the HapMap has started to plot the other 0.1 per cent – the individual idiosyncracies that make people different and often underlie ill health.

“The human genome sequence provided us with the list of many of the parts to make a human,” Peter Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Science at Oxford University and one of the project’s leaders, said.

“The HapMap provides us with indicators – like Post-It notes – which we can focus on in looking for genes involved in common disease. This report describes a remarkable step in our journey to understand human biology and disease.”

Panos Deloukas of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre near Cambridge, which conducted much of the work, said: “Humans are genetically 99.9 per cent identical: it is the tiny percentage that is different that holds the key to why some of us are more susceptible to common diseases such as diabetes and hypertension or respond differently to treatment with certain drugs.”

The Times OnlineBritain, October 27, 2005 ~ Mark Henderson

Analysis:

Two things stand out whenever I read articles such as this, detailing the amazing progress being made in genetics research.

First, such discoveries underscore the obvious divine fingerprint that is on human life. All life, in fact. The DNA sequence is as complex as any computer code, and governs every aspect of human appearance, health, and physical characteristics. The DNA “code” demands the recognition of a “code writer.” It is ever more obvious that life is not a chance event. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Second, the ethical quandaries men face continue to multiply. Just because men have developed the ability to accomplish a scientific task (stem cell research and cloning come to mind) does not mean that they have the right before God to exercise that ability. While I am certainly for progress, a willingness to brush aside questions regarding the ethicality or morality of such experiments is troublesome. Christians need to be aware of such dangers, and speak out against unethical practices that are defended by an appeal to “progress” and “the common good.” The end does not justify an unethical means.