Genetics has progressed greatly, since the time of Gregor Mendel, who is widely regarded as the Father of Genetics. Genetics today is not just a solitary field of Life Sciences, but is intricately associated with many related aspects, and more so to the way in which information is passed from DNA. Gene mapping is a process in genetics that has the capability to answer questions of how genes are associated with hereditary disorders in nature. A common observation is that although similar genes code for similar functions in all humans, there are variations observed in these functions. One reason for such variations is the minor changes in the information coded by genes in different individuals. Such changes are referred to as variations or ‘mutations’. Gene mapping, thus, is an important process to help understand and study mutations in genes to find out reasons and probable solutions to evade complications it can cause, in the near future.
Genetic mutations, when combined with certain extrinsic (related to external factors) factors, have been found to be responsible for diabetes in individuals. Gene mapping helps in understanding the associations between mutations in genes and their impact on the predisposition of an individual to lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes. For example, if a person’s DNA makes her predisposed to diabetes, then certain lifestyle factors, such as imbalanced diet or sedentary habits may increase the risk of that individual to diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which sugar metabolism is severely hampered. In diabetes mellitus, either the person’s pancreas does not secrete enough insulin to take care of the blood glucose, leading to high sugar levels in the blood, or her body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin. Symptoms seen in diabetes can, thus, be governed by variations or mutations in genes associated with the disorder.
Gene mapping is an extremely powerful technique to learn about the genes that are responsible for, and associated with, diabetes in individuals. Gene mapping can also determine other genes which are associated with diabetes, directly and indirectly. While some genes could help in deciding the correct diet for the person, some others decide the right kind of medication that works better. Some genes may throw light on the way the body’s immune system works in case of diabetes. Gene mapping can help in detecting the mutation in genes that increases the risk of diabetes despite the age and sex of the individual.