PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF GENETICS
Study of genetics has been put into a wide variety of uses encompassing plants and animals and in particular humans. Blood transfusion. Blood groups are genetically determined. As discussed earlier a person of blood group A can only get blood from another one of A or O.
In case of emergencies and unavailability of blood, a patient may be given blood group A + when he/she is A-. First transfusion is fine since, by the time enough antibodies are produced most of the red blood cells of donor have completed their lifespan but a subsequent transfusion of A+ blood is fatal.
Plant and animal breeding
- Genetics is applied mostly in plant and animal breeding in order to produce varieties that are most suitable to man’s needs.
- This is done through artificial selection.
- Varieties are developed that are resistant to pests, diseases or harsh climatic conditions.
- Genetic counseling involves advising about hereditary diseases and disorders so that they can make informed decisions.
This is done through:
- Taking family history.
- Screening for genotypes e.g. through amniocentesis.
- In amniocentesis, cells are obtained from amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
- Conditions such as Down’s syndrome can be detected using microscopy.