Varanasi (UP), Mar 19 (IANS): Knowing the risk that you face of getting a disease in later years may soon be possible.
The zoology department of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has started working on the concept of gene astrology with a view to finding out as to what extent and when people run the risk of developing a disease on the basis of their genes.
An initiative of Prof Gyaneshwar Chaubey of BHU's zoology department, the idea took shape a few days ago during an international conference on DNA defence mechanism at Banaras Hindu University.
Prof Chaubey said, "We have also created a gene bank in the department by taking blood samples of 3000 people. The testing service at the department was for free."
"It is a proven fact now that certain genes are responsible for certain diseases. Through a test, it can be diagnosed that the gene responsible for type-II diabetes and other one responsible for cardiac diseases is present in the individual or not. It can be done at a very early age. If the gene is present, the chances of risk one has to develop the disease at what age can be predicted by studying it. Thereafter, the individual may be given an advice to take preventive measures," he added.
"It has been said that even a healthy person is born with the mutations that may lead to various genetic diseases. However, it is our lifestyle which also contributes to many diseases. What will happen if we know these genetic diseases as soon as a child is born? But before that, let us know what our DNA can do?" Chaubey said.
Explaining further he said, "In the course of evolution, mutations happen and that give a shape to our genomes. The study of these mutations reflects history of our ancestors. And in case of India, where endogamy (marriages in the caste) is prevalent, the genetic history may also inform about our caste affiliation. Our DNA data can teach us a lot about that history."
According to the zoologist, "Once a person is born, their genomic mutations remain same and studying known disease mutations among this person may help understand the presence or absence of that mutation. For example, 25 base pair of DNA deletion at MYBPC3 gene 7 times increases the risk of cardiac arrest at the age of 35-45 years among South Asians."
If someone is screened for this gene and found positive, their lifestyle and medical care can be modulated to reduce this risk. Diabetes-2 is also becoming a common disease in India and by screening the associated mutations can be used as an indicator for the lifestyle management. So, the genome astrology can be useful in managing genetic diseases and reduce their burden among Indians, he added.