The time period marking the culmination of the second World war II, is the time when the medical genetics of modern time was first traced. According to the observers Aristotle is considered for the discovery of the principle employed in DNA, referring to the principle of “unmoved mover”, that “acts, creates form and development and is not unchanged in the process”. Aristotle always emphasized the importance of blood in heredity. He coined that blood carries the genetic material with itself and it is supplied to all body parts of the human body. Today also it is said that ” it is in blood” which means certain traits are inherited from the parents to their offsprings.
Further the concept of pangenesis was proposed by Hippocrates, and he believed that people inherit some acquired characteristics. He coined that the entire organ system of parents contributes an invisible seed that is transmitted during conception in order to create the characters of the child.
The Ayurvedic observers have accounted for the knowledge of inheritance of diseases and genetic basis for the transmission of such diseases from parents to offspring. In Ayurvedic texts the genetic disorders are termed sahajarogas, khuljarogas and adibalapavrtaarogas. Some diseases like hemorrhoids, skin diseases, diabetes, obesity, etc. have been considered to be inherited in Ayurveda. Sahaja Rogas are the rogas which are present from birth itself. Kulajaroga are the rogas which run in families. Adibalapavrtaarogas are the rogas which are formed due to defects in male and female reproductive elements.
When a metal is melted and poured into a mold, it takes the shape of that mold. Similarly in Charaka Samhita there is a text which says that a human is born from a human being. But the question arises that how does a human being bring forth another identical human being? Here, Chakrapani comments that the human reproductive element is made up of many seeds (Bheejabhaga), which represent various organs and body parts (Pratyanga). Thus, from this seed a new human being is born with the same set of organs and parts. Further Chakrapanidatta states that the Bheejabhaga is subdivided into entities called Bheejabhagavayava. According to modern medicine Bheeja, Bheejabhaga and Bheejabhagavayava can be referred to chromosomes, DNA and gene respectively.
Bheejabhaga are responsible for the development of specific parts and organs of the body. The diseases which are transferred from parents to the offspring are due to the genetic defects known as Beejadosa in Ayurveda. Chakrapani explains that the diabetes during birth is when dosa that is responsible for the manifestation of diabetes damages bija the same can be explained in case of obesity, skin diseases, and other hereditary defects. The text also explains that if the seed is not affected by the defects of mother or father the progeny will not acquire the disease.
Thus, the genetic transmission of the diseases was described in early stages of Ayurveda. The genetic concept formed the basis for the diseases illustrated by Sushruta and Charaka. These concepts were also supported and acknowledged by the contribution of Greek thinkers like Aristotle and physicians like Hippocrates. The physicians of Ayurveda put forth the theory that the entire genetic information representing each and every part of the human body was transmitted from the parents to the offspring. While the seeds (that is male and female reproductive elements) map the complete blueprint of the human body, the part of the seed which is known as Bheejabhaga represents a specific part of the body. Further these Bheejabhaga are made up of Bheejabhagavayava and are represented as parts of organs.
If the Bheeja is completely damaged it makes it impossible for the conception to happen or the fetus to be viable. If the bheja is partially affected then there is some sort of defect in the offspring. The constitution of the person is also considered while determining the parts of the seeds and its components. The main motive of Ayurveda is to prevent genetic diseases by application of methods of rejuvenation and reproductive medicine. Chakrapani explains the reason why offspring are born with defects is due to the damage caused to that part of the seed which is caused by the effect of past action or Karma. Thus, it becomes necessary to maintain a good lifestyle by providing a good balance to self and prevent genetical defects.