How good is our genome?
Weill JC, Radman M
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London (2004)
Category: DNA repair ¤ Added: Aug 21, 2004 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Our genome has evolved to perpetuate itself through the maintenance of the species via an uninterrupted chain of reproductive somas. Accordingly, evolution is not concerned with diseases occurring after the soma's reproductive stage. Following Richard Dawkins, we would like to reassert that we indeed live as disposable somas, slaves of our germline genome, but could soon start rebelling against such slavery. Cancer and its relation to the TP53 gene may offer a paradigmatic example. The observation that the latency period in cancer can be prolonged in mice by increasing the number of TP53 genes in their genome, suggests that sooner or later we will have to address the question of heritable disease avoidance via the manipulation of the human germline.