Child Development and Genomics
Child development is affected by a variety of factors. These factors can either be internal or external. External factors include all the physical surroundings of a child, while internal factors are those that are largely concerned with the biological aspects of a child.
The biological players in child development include genomics and genetics. These factors play a role in physical development, immunity, intelligence, and how one interacts with the surrounding, which are all critical to the growth and development of a child. Genomics is basically the study of genes in a person or an organism. To be clear, genetics and genomics are two distinct fields of study. While genomics examines the makeup of genes, as well as the interaction of these genes, genetics involves the study of heredity, which particularly involves genes.
The development of a child starts with conception, where the male and female reproductive cells come together to create life. These cells both contain chromosomes made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which basically dictate how an individual is made up. According to Verywell Mind, DNA provides the blueprint for a person’s being. However, genetics do not entirely determine development. Genomics comes in where these genetic components interact with the surroundings and how these interactions influence the genes.
These interactions include Gene Expression, which involves the interaction among genes where these genes contain information. This information may either be conflicting or additive. Genes may also follow a dominant, recessive pattern, where the dominant gene manifests in the child, such as eye color.
Genes also interact with the environment, which can influence child development. Exposure to potentially harmful chemicals before birth and throughout a child’s life can impact development negatively. Poor nutrition in a child may lead to stunted growth, influencing height, a genetic trait.
Genetic abnormalities may also occur where an abnormal cell joins a normal cell during conception or when the chromosomes divide abnormally. This could potentially lead to a unique condition or abnormality in the child.
Abnormalities associated with sex chromosomes may also occur, where a child is born with either a missing sex chromosome or an additional chromosome. Normally, children are born with at least one X chromosome, but in rare cases, such an abnormality may occur. One such condition is the Klinefelter syndrome, caused by an additional X chromosome. This may lead to learning difficulties. Other Sex chromosome abnormalities include the fragile X syndrome, which affects a child’s intellectual capacity, and Turner syndrome, which affects learning.
Also known as trisomy 21, Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that results from abnormal cell division. Children born with down syndrome have a third chromosome instead of the normal two.
Children with down’s syndrome exhibit facial characteristics such as a round face, a thick tongue that often sticks out, and slanted eyes. Other symptoms include heart problems and some sort of intellectual impairment, which may vary from patient to patient.
This text has sought to examine how genes, genomics, and genetics influence or contribute to child development. Genomics seeks to determine the sequence of components that makes up the DNA of a person or organism. In child development, it is important to identify the potential risks that may affect the wellbeing of a child and find ways to manage these risks for a healthier and happier child, and consequently, a productive individual.