Discussion #5 Human Biology – Essay Example

Human Biology Recently, there have been many scientific topics circulating in the media. They range from talks concerning diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and flu among others, but one of the most fascinating is the new cause of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Spinal Muscular Atrophy refers to an incurable illness caused by a genetic defect in the SMN1 gene (Science Daily 1). This is the gene that codes survival motor neuron (SMN). Survival motor neuron is the protein that supports the motor neurons, as well as the spinal cord.
The University of Carolina scientists have recently discovered that the previously proposed cause of Spinal Muscular Atrophy is incorrect. Earlier, researchers linked a defect known as survival motor neuron to the fatal Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This, however, according to the University of Carolina is incorrect. The university scientists think that a separate role of the survival motor neuron is likely the cause of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Science Daily 1).
Spinal Muscular Atrophy is characterized by muscle wasting (atrophy) and weakness that results from the recurring loss of the motor neurons in the spinal cord. The illness occurs because of a partial loss of the function in the survival motor neuron gene that loads up splicing machinery with proteins. These proteins are necessary for cutting and pasting the cell’s genetic information together. Body cells that lack survival motor neurons fail to generate and process the genetic blue print for the proteins required in performing the rest of the body activities (Science Daily 1).
Today, people’s attention is mostly on HIV/AIDS, how to ease malaria cases, and also how to evade flu. Spinal Muscular Atrophy, on the other hand, has not gotten the much attention that it deserves. Even though it is not a common disease in many households, it should also be considered dangerous since it is incurable.
Work Cited
Science Daily. New Cause of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Described: Science News. NP, 2012. Web.