Molecular Genetics Molecular genetics is the field of biology that studies the structure and function of genes at a molecular level and thus employs methods of both molecular biology and genetics. The study of chromosomes and gene expression of an organism can give insight into heredity, genetic variation, and mutations. Normal human cells grow and function based mainly on the information contained in each cell’s chromosomes. Chromosomes are long molecules of DNA in each cell. DNA is the chemical that carries our genes, the instructions for how our cells function. Everytime that a cell prepares to divide, it must make a new copy of DNA. This process is not perfect, and errors can occur that can affect genes. Certain genes that promote cell growth and division are called oncogenes. Others that slow down cell division or cause cells to die are called tumor suppressor genes. Cancers can be caused by mutations that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes. Most cases of CML start when a “swapping” of chromosomal material (DNA) occurs between chromosomes 9 and 22 during cell division. Part of chromosome 9 goes to 22 and part of 22 goes to 9. This results in chromosome 22 being shorter than normal. This new abnormal chromosome is found in almost all patients that have CML. The swapping between the two chromosomes causes a formation of a new gene which produces a protein that causes the CML cells to grow and reproduce out of control (Do We Know What Causes Chronic Myeloid Leukemia?, 2016) Leukemia is typically not inherited, except for some rare types. For example, familial AML is a rare type of inherited leukemia which is transmitted by a non-sex chromosome in a dominant fashion. Although the mutations are typically not hereditary, they are genetic. This means that while leukemia is caused by mutations in your genes, these genetic abnormalities aren’t often inherited from your family. This is called an acquired gene mutation. A variety of factors can put you more at risk to get the disease. Some of these risk factors are at your control, while others are not. For example, familial AML is a rare type of inherited leukemia which is transmitted by a non-sex chromosome in a dominant fashion meaning it is not in your control. As well, certain genetic conditions can increase the risk for AML. It is very likely that identical twins who develop AML in the first year of life will both develop the disease (Acute Myeloid Leukemia Screening/Prevention, n.d.). Furthermore, according to a 2013 paper published in Seminars in Hematology, research points to an inherited factor for CLL. This leukemia does occur more often in people who have a close family member who also had leukemia. Close family members are medically defined as your first-degree family, meaning your father, mother, and siblings (Weatherspoon, 2017). Lastly, other diseases can increase your risk for potentially getting leukemia, such as down syndrome. Risk factors that you can control include, smoking, exposure to certain chemicals (benzene, Agent Orange), and exposure to radiation, etc. Homeostasis Homeostasis is the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. In order to do this, the body has controls to initiate or cease the production of substances performing tasks, and control materials from entering or exiting the body. When a person has leukemia, the abnormal production of white blood cells affect the homeostasis of their body. In the human body, white blood cells have the job of protecting the body from foreign diseases, but when a person has leukemia the white blood cells are unable to perform properly (Kang, 2013). This causes a disturbance in the body because it can impact the circulatory system, the digestive system, the blood flow and the skeletal system. The effects on each system makes organs unable to sustain the normal functions. Reduced levels of white blood cells can lead to higher chances of catching subsidiary diseases. Lower levels of platelets, the cells that cause blood to clot, lead to more frequent bruises and nosebleeds. If the cancerous cells spread to the brain, headaches and nausea can result from tissues around the brain and spinal cord becoming irritated and inflamed. Finally, painful bones can result from the cancerous cells spreading into the bone marrow (McGlauflin, Munger, & Nelson, 2005). Role of Technology Technology is used throughout the process of leukemia, it is used to help diagnose, for treatment, and support. It has played a major part in the medical advancements in leukemia. Medical technology is advancing every year, constantly trying to allow leukemia to be less harmful to human bodies, to try and get faster diagnoses, and to help patients feel more comfortable. Technology is used in the diagnostic processes to help identify what subtype of leukemia is present, or if the cancer has spread. Imaging tests, such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI), are performed to see if leukemia cells are growing in an organ (e.g the spleen, or liver). X rays are electromagnetic radiation that differentially penetrates structures within the body and creates images of these structures on photographic film or a fluorescent screen. MRI is a non-invasive imaging technology that produces three dimensional detailed anatomical images without the use of damaging radiation. It uses powerful magnets that produce a strong magnetic field that force the protons in the body to align. Then, a radiofrequency current is pulsed through the patient causing the protons to become stimulated and strained against the magnetic field. When the radiofrequency current is turned off the MRI sensors are able to detect the energy that is released, and the amount of time the protons take to realign. From these magnetic properties various different tissues can be identified (Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), 2017). The MRI will also be able to show if the leukemia has spread anywhere else in the body. To detect if leukemia is present in the body, a blood test or a biopsy (a hollow needle is inserted into your hip bone or breastbone to extract a sample of bone marrow, blood and bone tissue) would be performed and analyzed. To determine the stage of the disease other tests such as, cytogenetic analysis, immunophenotyping, and Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test (Leukemia Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment, Research, n.d.). Technology is also used during the treatment process of leukemia. One way to treat leukemia is through radiation therapy which uses focused, high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to control or kill malignant cells. As well, drug therapy is used to treat leukemia through chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses linear accelerators which constantly move to change both the shape and intensity of the beam to fit each patient and each tumor size and form (Advanced Technology to Treat Cancer, 2015). Implications to society and environment Cancer has affected most individuals in one way or another, whether it be by having cancer, having a loved-one with cancer, or avoiding certain items because they put you at a higher risk. Dealing with a sick friend or family member can put a lot of stress on individuals changing the way they act in day-to-day life. As well, cancer is feared by everyone because it is a constant threat to their health. Lastly, leukemia can impact society because it causes people to be skeptical about products that have been linked to cancer, for example household cleaning products, diet coke, plastic containers containing BPA, etc. There are many environmental factors that can increase the risk of getting leukemia. Long-term exposure to benzene, from second-hand smoke, pesticides, forest fire smoke, adhesives, and glue, can cause greater risk than to those not subjected to benzene. As well, radiation exposure can have the same impact as benzene, individuals can experience radiation from x-rays, nuclear power plants, and previous cancer treatments. Individuals that are continuously surrounded by these factors have a higher risk of getting leukemia, than the average person. General InformationLeukemia- a malignant progressive disease in which the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature or abnormal leukocytes. These suppress the production of normal blood cells, leading to anemia and other symptoms.4 different types:Acute myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (AML)Chronic myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (CML)Acute lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL)Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)Symptoms:Fever or chills.Persistent fatigue, weakness.Frequent or severe infections.Losing weight without trying.Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen.Easy bleeding or bruising.Recurrent nosebleeds.Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae) (Leukemia, 2017)Biochemistry Biochemistry is the branch of science concerned with the chemical and physicochemical processes that occur within living organisms. It is often viewed as the bridge between chemistry and biology. Understanding the physical and chemical principles that determine the properties of these molecules is essential to understanding their functions in the cell and other living organisms. It is possible to characterize the biochemical and immunological profile of patients with leukemia, as well as highlight some significant differences between healthy individuals and ones with leukemia. This is important because it helps determine the treatment plan, and helps improve the quality of life and the immunological response (Sanches, 2015). There are many biochemical changes in cancer cells and normal cells. Cancer cells don’t have contact inhibition, the growing cells form multilayers, and they have an increase in synthesis of RNA and DNA. As well, cancer cells have a decreased catabolism of pyrimidine, and an increase in the growth factor secretion. All of these changes are the opposite of how normal cells function. Obtaining a better understanding of cellular biochemical pathways and activities will ultimately have important implications in the management of cancer patients (Kumosani, n.d.). Population Dynamics Population dynamics is the branch of life sciences that studies the size and age composition of populations as dynamical systems, and the biological and environmental processes driving them (such as birth and death rates, and by immigration and emigration).