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AD 2016 Q1

RESEARCH, EDUCATION &

RESEARCH, EDUCATION & MEDICINE EXPERT OPINIONS the creation of proteins that build body structures and control body functions — the individual’s observable traits, called the phenotype. This expression involves transcription of the code from genes to messenger molecules that leave the cell nuclei and enter the cell body, where they direct synthesis of a specific protein. Gene expression is affected by another layer of molecules (the epigenome), which varies from cell to cell. The relationship between genotype and phenotype is complicated further by gene interaction with the environment. Thus, studying genetics is complex and requires a lot of resources. So far, genetic studies in diving have just scratched the surface. Changes in gene expression and transcription have been found in animals exposed to breath-hold and compressed-gas diving. Underwater diving exposes divers to hyperoxia and increased production of reactive oxygen species, which are involved with nearly every physiological process in cells, including programmed cell death (apoptosis). Response to this stress alone can alter gene expression and transcription. Similar stress may be caused by exercise in nondivers and by many other factors. Some studies found that experienced divers, as compared with nondivers, showed persistent changes in pathways of apoptosis, inflammation and immune responses in blood transcriptomes, indicating a cellular state of sustained alertness toward exogenous stress. There were no measurable physiological differences, however, between the divers and nondivers. Changes found after scuba diving were typical of sublethal oxidative stress; they included suppression of lymphocyte activity and activation of the innate immune system. It was not possible to distinguish the effects of oxidative stress and of gas microbubbles. Changes were similar after additional dives, and they returned to normal in between the dives. Whether there will be a dive analog of BRCA1 and BRCA2 is impossible to predict at this stage. But these are just the first steps in a long journey, and accelerating development in medicine and technology leaves little doubt that precision medicine for divers will be achieved. AD 54 | WINTER 2016

Travel Smarter With DAN Travel Insurance Coverage That Travels With You When it comes to travel, a little preparation can save a lot of trouble. DAN’s Travel Insurance provides coverage for certain unexpected events, so you can enjoy your dive trip or family vacation. In addition to DAN’s trusted Dive Accident Insurance, the per trip and annual plans offer a range of benefits to keep you focused on what matters most. Travel smarter, and explore the benefits. n Emergency Assistance and Transportation n Medical and Dental Coverage n Trip Cancellation n Trip Interruption n Rental Car Damage Coverage DAN.org/TRAVEL Explore DAN.org/travel for complete coverage. Plans exclude losses caused by, or resulting from, scuba diving below 40 meters or without a dive master. Annual Plan coverage available in the United States except for residents of FL, IN, NY and WA. Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 0821931, located in San Diego, CA, and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services. Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Insurance is underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia. A200_15_09

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