Genetic influences

Steve Jones (1993) explains that genetics is a language, “a set of inherited instructions passed from generation to generation’. Jones argues that genes are like the words in a language. The way genes are arranged can be seen as the rules for language much like grammar. Genetics also have a literature, ‘the thousands of instructions needed to make a human being’. Genes contain the information needed to make living organisms. This information is held in the DNA. Each nucleus in each cell of a living person contains this genetic material. To be alive, you will have had to have a code of genetics to guide the construction of your body.

This body could not have been built if there were no materials and no environment to build it in. some individuals may have the genetic potential to grow tall but will not be able to if they do not have substantial amounts of protein in their diet. The environmental and genetic influences interact. Every gene contains ten thousand cells and if their is a fault in any gene it can lead to serious illness and even death. New cells are created by the process of mitosis, this is when parent cells divide to produce two new cells, they should be identical to each other and if they are not it can have serious affects on the individual’s health.

The nucleus of each cell should have 23 single chromosomes contained in it. At fertilisation the nuclei of the two gametes combine, and the two sets of 23 single chromosomes match up to become 23 paired chromosomes. Each chromosome is made of proteins and long threads of deoxyibose nuclei acid (DNA). It is DNA that carries our genetic code. Genes are passed from parent to child; these may contain defective genes, which could have been there for a long time however it could have also been produced during fertilisation.

If both parents carry the defective gene their offspring will almost definitely contract it but if only one of the two parents has it, it is a lot less likely. These abnormal genes that are passed down to offspring are called alleles. An autosomal recessive disorder occurs when a recessive gene is masked by a more dominant one. The disorder can only occur if both parents are abnormal. The recessive disorder I will be studying is cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited, or genetic, disease that affects many body organs; most of the symptoms from it affect the lungs and the digestive system.

The recessive gene occurs in chromosome 7. About every 1 in 2500 Caucasian babies are affected by cystic fibrosis, but it is much less common among people of African or Asian descent. Its main symptom is that it affects the transport of water across cell membranes, causing thick mucus to develop in the lungs and around the digestive system. The mucus leads to breathing difficulties and makes it increasingly difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. In the past, people with cystic fibrosis did not survive childhood, but improved medical treatments mean that there are now young adults with the disease.

One of the two main areas affected by cystic fibrosis is the lungs. When comparing the lungs of a healthy person to the lungs of a person suffering from cystic fibrosis there are obvious differences. This mucus is there to remove any bacteria. However people with cystic fibrosis have thick and sticky mucus covering the air passages this means that it cannot perform its role. Another problem that this excessive mucus causes is the fact that it provides an ideal place for bacteria to grow, this could lead to chest infections and if the chest infections are not treated quickly and correctly then it could be very hard to treat.

The second part of the body cystic fibrosis seriously affects is the Digestive system. Part of the digestive system is the pancreas, the pancreas produces chemicals known as enzymes, these enzymes goes into the gut as food is leaving the stomach and breaks down the fat. People who have cystic fibrosis have the problem that their pancreas does not produce enzymes. They therefore find it difficult to gain weight, as the fat in the food is not properly digested; their pancreatic duct can also easily become congested All of the above problems will have an influence of that person’s life.

The symptoms of their lungs will mean that they will need constant check ups to make sure that they are in reasonable health. Chest infections may be a regular thing and will need medication almost immediately. The symptoms of their digestive system will influence their life in lots of ways; not only will they find it hard to gain weight but because of this women will also have difficulties with there fertility. There are also many other problems that will have a huge influence on how a person with cystic fibrosis will develop. Infertility in men is very common because the urethra may become clogged up.

There can also be fertility problems in women; because cystic fibrosis may cause women to become underweight are therefore more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles, making it highly difficult to conceive. Genes control the sequence of human development; so many abilities like walking and talking seem to be unfolding from within a growing child. This unfolding process is often called maturation. Maturation is not a simple matter of genetics however. The environment a person grows up in will also influence how development unfolds. Environmental influences

There are many environmental issues that influence a person’s life. Environmental influences can mean many things. Children are often influenced by family and friends, looking up to older siblings etc. however this is not always a good thing. If children grow up with an abusive father or mother they could be influenced by their tendencies and have the same traits rubbed off on them. Children are immediately affected by the behaviour of the people in their family, but the people in this family are influenced by the wider issues such as culture.

The main environmental influences on the development of the individual are noise, which can lead to hearing difficulties, Pollution, leading to respiratory problems, and food, due to additives and E-numbers causing hyperactivity and in some cases even diabetes. Drug Problems causing addictions and heavy crime in their area causing greed, can also both lead to an individual not being able to self – actualise therefore leaving them feeling lacking in life. The main environmental influence I will be analysing in detail is how housing conditions affect the development of the individual.

The area in which a person lives can have many different problems. If the area is polluted this can damage the individuals health, and if the area has a high number of smokers living in the same proximity it can cause overcrowded living conditions and result in uncomfortable living standards. A persons housing conditions are very important to there development. For instance if an individuals house has been affected by damp, they are highly likely do develop recurring colds and chest infections due to the cold conditions.

This being ill regularly will definitely affect an individuals development in many different ways; being ill and not being able to go to school can result in a lack of education, this could mean they try to catch up on work but miss out on socialisation with others, this can also affect the individual as a number of interpersonal skills are learned from interaction with others. Housing conditions can also be overcrowded, as less and less people are able to buy their own houses, large numbers of people and large families are forced to all live in a small area.

As well as the health risks of overpopulation the psychological effects are also quite profound. When living in a house with lots of other people, it is common to feel left out or isolated especially when younger. Being made to feel isolated at a young age can have serious consequences on an individual’s development. Socio- economic influences There are a great deal of socio – economic issues that can affect an individuals development. These can include employment, access to health care, class, education and even the amount of money you have access to. The two topics I will be analysing in detail are education and employment.

Education is a very important socio – economic issue for the whole of society. It can determine what you grow up to be and can start or fail the rest of an individual’s life. For instance, if children are also affected by environmental issues such as poor housing conditions then the affects of a poor or limited education can be accelerated. Education levels in the poorest communities are lower than for the country generally. Schools in disadvantaged areas are likely to be restricted in space and have the environment ruined by litter, vandalism and graffiti.

This adds to very stressful working conditions for both the students and the staff. Children coming to school hungry or stressed as a result of their social and economic environment will be unable to take full advantage of learning opportunities. As well as this the parents can also be affected by stress, depression and even social exclusion with can reduce their capability to participate in their children’s education. Aside from this social class is also a major factor which can influence access the education.

People from professional backgrounds are also a lot more likely to go to college and university; where as those from unskilled backgrounds are not. It is highly likely that the combined effects of poor resources, low expectations and the need to earn money often influence young people from low income families to give their education a very low priority. The government has even introduced new initiative schemes such as ‘connexions’ and EMA (education maintenance allowance) to encourage young people from low income families to attend college and achieve A – levels.

This also gives them a much better chance to access higher education. The second socio – economic issue I will discuss is employment and the lack of it. People are often labelled depending on their job status: the skilled, the unskilled and the professional. Each state of employment gives other people a perception of them. A person’s socio- economic status is directly related to environmental issues that have influenced their development and employment is one of them.

An example of this could be a child that has lived in poor housing conditions which could make them ill regularly; this would result in them not being able to attend school on a regular basis. By not being able to attend school their education would be severely deprived, they would have very little chance of higher education and would therefore try to gain a job. However with no qualifications this would be very hard, if they did find a job it would be unskilled and probably very low pay. This would mean they would be of a lower social class and would also force them into unskilled work.

Overall there are a number of socio – economic issues that can directly deprive or accelerate our development. The issues I have examined are just a few on a huge topic. However, genetic, environmental, and socio – economic issues on development are changing for a majority of different reasons: science is now prolonging life and health for many people, reproduction no longer has to start in early adulthood, as it is now possible for women to still give birth in their 50’s, retirement can be optional and even temporary and gender and family roles are no longer set in concrete.

All of these issues can effect an individuals development in many different ways. Overall, there are many influences on the development of an individual. The three main ones that I have studied in this report are genetic, environmental and socio – economic issues.

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