Ethical and Legal Aspects
All living structures have a genome, which contains the “blueprint” that provides all the instructions necessary to make and maintain an organism. With the exception of the red blood cells, each of the various billions of cells which make up each individual, contains a complete genome.This consists of a double chain of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The chromosomes are portions of DNA plus protein. Our genes, ca. 100,000, are a small part of the very long stretch of DNA which is composed of about 3 x 10 nucleotides, generally abbreviated as “bases”. These bases contain the purines, adenine and guanine and the pyrimidines, cytosine and thymine. The double chain is so formed that whenever there is an adenine in a chain, there will be a thymine in the opposite chain and whenever there is a guanine in one there will be a cytosine in the other chain. A great portion, ca. 90%, of the nuclear DNA does not contain genes. On the other hand the very small DNA of the mitochondria is occupied entirely by genes, and is inherited entirely from the mother. This has a very important application in legal medicine as will be extensively covered in this encounter. In this regard, because of its historical interest I will refer to the work of Mary Clare King with the children of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. Also, I will discuss the Declarations of Valencia and of Bilbao. Because of its pioneer interest, the 2nd Declaration of Valencia is included.
KeywordsGene Therapy Adenosine Deaminase Genetic Service Human Genome Project Germinal Cell
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