Genetic counseling deals with individuals’ family history and is an important factor in determining the health, well-being and disease risk. The genetic code is actually the set of biological instructions used by living organisms to translate information coded within their genetic material into specific proteins. All living cells carry DNA, the genetic material, and these DNA strands can be split into pairs, called pairs of chromosomes. These genetic strands are then passed from parent to offspring, and sometimes between species. Often, we inherit DNA from one parent and not the other.
The genetic code consists of twenty-eight base pairs, or amino acids, which make up the genetic code. Each base has a single double-stranded codon that is recognized as a single ‘codon’. Codons make up a portion of the genetic code, but just twenty-eight base pairs actually make up the entire genetic code. There are two types of DNA base pairs: A T and an A. A T refers to one single base pair, while an A T refers to two single bases.
There are two ways to break down DNA to create the genetic code. One way is through the construction of a genetic code sequence from DNA molecules using nucleic acid. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method commonly used to produce DNA through this method. Another method is through sequencing of DNA. This is done through a procedure called polyethylene glycol (PEG) synthesis, where DNA strands are broken down using PEG catalyzed reactions.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) uses four different chemical reactions to build DNA strands. The first step is the addition of a single DNA base pair, which is referred to as a start codon. Next, a DNA sequence called a polypeptide is constructed. Finally, the polypeptide is linked to three nucleotides, also referred to as a stop codon, which is essential to produce a DNA sequence with the desired sequence of amino acids.
Because of the way that mutations occur when DNA is passed on from parent to offspring, it is essential that each generation produces a completely different genetic code from its predecessors. The DNA that is inherited from one generation to the next contains no information about previous mutations. Each generation only learns what mutations have been made, and these mutations remain within the DNA’s coding region. Since every generation is different, it is likely that there will be new mutations that arise within the genetic code that will be difficult for scientists to detect.
The basis for determining what mutations are present in the genetic code consists of observing what amino acids are substituted for each codon in a sequence. When a codon occurs at the right position in a codon, it will be replaced with an amino acid that shares the same amino acid sequence. However, if a codon is repeated too many times it is likely that an amino acid sequence will be formed that does not share this position with any other codon.
For instance, in a translation error, one amino acid is substituted with another amino acid that does not share the same position with the first base. If this sequence of bases is repeated too many times it can become confused with other possible sequences, and the error will appear in the genetic code as a miss match. The next step involves testing whether the new sequence added to the end result produces the same red as the original one. If the new sequence is indeed changed, then scientists know what has been missed in the translation process, and they have located where the missing base is within the coding region.
Scientists have also studied what is the genetic code got from living organisms using a technique called sequencing DNA. This method works by sequencing DNA to look for repetitive sequences or codons, and then looking at the resulting gaps to determine whether these sequences are shared amongst living organisms. If a set of sequences is shared, then the code has been passed on from generation to generation. However, if they are unique, then it is possible that this is an unhygienic genetic code. This has implications for the way in which medical professionals to research the code and the way that it may affect future treatments, and it is possible that sequencing DNA could make it much easier to study the genetic code in future.