Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sickle Cell Disease Around The World

I was researching Sickle Cell Disease around the world…I’m just a curious soul…. and what I kept finding (in different reports) was the same quote: “The origin of Sickle Cell Disease is Africa and primarily affects people of African decent.” I even read one (racist) report that said: “The African footprint in the world is Sickle Cell Disease.” I was baffled. I’ve heard of cases of Sickle Cell Disease in India, Saudi Arabia, Asia, United States, Spain, Italy, Mexico and Africa.

My belief is that Sickle Cell Disease is a human condition, not just an African condition. I got busy researching to see if my belief was correct. What I found was related to genes and human diseases located on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website.

The source of Sickle Cell Disease, I found, is not the African footprint, but DNA (DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID). DNA is the blueprint of life and has the instructions for making each and every one of us. According to the WHO report, “Pure genetic diseases are caused by a single error in a single gene in the human DNA.”

The report goes on to say, Sickle Cell Disease is one of many “monogenic diseases” resulting from modifications (errors) in a single gene that occurs in all cells of the body. These monogenic diseases affect millions of people worldwide, and scientists estimate that over 10,000 human diseases are known to be monogenic.

Some monogenic diseases are:

Thalassaemia, Sickle cell anemia, Haemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis, Tay sachs disease, Fragile X syndrome (cause of retardation), and Huntington's disease.

The rate of all single gene diseases at birth is approximately 10/1000. This means for every 10,000 people born, 10 of them will have a monogenic disease.

So, is my belief correct that Sickle Cell Disease is a human condition? Yes. Like any of the other monogenic disease, Sickle Cell Disease is a boo-boo of the DNA….now let’s try to get it fixed!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:15 PM

    Obviously the author of the racist article is suffering from Fragile X syndrome, no? Your article reminded me of a NatGeo special on the human body in which we followed the life of a woman from conception to death.

    The interesting part, (and I hope I remember this correctly, is how our body, via DNA, actually reproduces itself (I can't remember how often something like every 5 or 10 years. Therefore, the reason we age, or discover a disease, is because the reproduction is like a photocopy, but each time, it is a copy of a copy.

    If we have a little "weak link" so to speak, then over the years it gets copied and "fuzzy" much like to photocopies of something copied 20 times. That's why people discover certain problems when they are older. If the DNA link is not weak, they it shows up earlier or even at birth.

    There you have it, a little trivia, albeit not exactly on the mark.

    Now, here's something to think about regarding DNA testing, cloning. Many recoil at the thought of "designer babies", those people who want good-looking kids. Irrespective of that, what if you could, before your child is born, see the DNA gene "error" and correct it? That may sound fantastic, but it also may lead to perfect health...but for whom? Only the wealthy who can afford such testing and procedures?

    Just food for thought.

    Love and miss you little sister, janice Mc