Special people with designer genes


Prakriti Adhikari, Staff Reporter

Nature is profound, mysterious and beautiful all at the same time. The synchronization and engineering of elements found in nature are complicated. From tiny particles like electrons and protons to the magnificent universe, everything happens with its own rule. If a small change occurs, many differences can be visible. The nature we exist in is so complicated that a small change to the chromosome in the nucleus of a cell can bring about noticeable differences.

Most cells in a human body consist of a nucleus, which has chromosomes storing genetic information. Typically, each nucleus in a human cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from the father and half from the mother. However, in some cases, an extra chromosome occurs in the 21st pair. The additional genetic material results in a condition called Down syndrome.

People with Down syndrome usually have almond-shaped eyes, low set ears and shorter limbs. Sometimes they lack a bridge of the nose. The genetic condition also results in difficulty in critical thinking and understanding, congenital heart diseases, immune deficiency and hearing loss among other effects. Although the exact reason for the disorder is yet to be known, scientists have associated it with older women conceiving a child. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, “A 35 year old woman has about a one in 350 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome, and this chance increases gradually to one in 100 by age 40. At age 45, the incidence becomes approximately one in 30.”

The month of October is celebrated as Down Syndrome Awareness Month to spread awareness about the condition, advocate for individuals with the syndrome and celebrate their abilities and accomplishments. Society usually forms preconceived ideas regarding individuals with the disorder. However, as every individual is unique and gifted with different talents, their abilities must be nurtured. This applies to every child born on earth, individuals with Down syndrome as well.

It is extremely important to understand that individuals with Down syndrome also have their own abilities and talents. They experience emotions like all human beings, and can achieve accomplishments in life. According to “9 Successful People with Down syndrome who Prove Life is Worth Living,” Angela Bachiller became the first person with Down syndrome to be elected as a councilwoman in 2013 in Valladolid, Spain. Megan McCormick became the first person with Down syndrome to graduate with honors from Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Tim Harris, who has Down Syndrome, owns a restaurant called Tim’s Place. There are many such individuals who have made accomplishments in their lives.

In spite of some difficulties, people with the syndrome have a lot of potential. If society understands them and provides them with opportunities, they can prove themselves. It is necessary for society to understand and appreciate such individuals. Recently, current Miss World Manushi Chhillar walked the ramp with children who have Down syndrome at the gala charity dinner in Brasilia. Chhillar shared photos on Instagram advocating for the cause and helping children with the condition. Such activities help advocate for the cause.

Things are all different, and differences are beautiful as they bring diversity. Whether they are small differences in chromosomal content or physical appearances, they must not be regarded as weakness. Down syndrome is not an illness. It is only a disorder, and individuals with the syndrome must be respected and loved as they deserve it.