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Whether it is referred to by its scientific term syngamy or by the general term conception the moment a sperm cell unites with an egg cell stirs both in the scientist and the layperson much awe and reverence It is the point at which a new and unique genome is created To some it is the instant a new person comes into existence Such a union has been repeated for billions of years since its advent in the first simple organisms It is a means by which evolution can exert its influence When the genetic material of two individuals combine in sexual reproduction any variations between the two inherited sets of genes may result in offspring that are more or less suited to its environment Human beings have come to a point in this process where we can now to an extent shape the environment to suit our needs The evolution of intelligence in our specie is the characteristic that has had the most profound impact on our planet and on us This intelligence among other things allows us to understand and combat some genetic diseases Inventions such as spectacles to correct our vision or drugs that fight heart disease and cancer have extended and improved the lives of individuals who in a more Darwinian world would have otherwise been eliminated by natural selection Cheating this process however has allowed a multitude of genetic diseases such as Tay Sachs and hemophilia to propagate in our gene pool But researchers are taking the field of medicine to a new frontier that promises to eliminate genetic diseases New technology is being developed that will allow scientists to alter or replace defective genes in germ-line cells egg and sperm cells In a literal sense it will allow us to control the evolution of our specie as these alterations may be passed on from generation to generation The implications are profound for the individual and for
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