Genetic Screening

An animation about genetic screening, which can identify people who are healthy genetic carriers for diseases that occur more often in certain populations.

Genetic screening for recessive diseases involves a simple test to analyze a person's DNA for specific gene mutations. This can determine if a person is a carrier for a genetic disease and his/her risk of having a child with a genetic disease. A person found to have one copy of any of these recessive gene mutations does not have a genetic disease but is a “healthy gene “carrier” who may pass the copy of the gene mutation on to the next generation. Genetic screening is available for many recessive genetic diseases and is recommended for several ethnic groups to look for diseases that occur more often in those populations. (See Population Genetics primer.) The purpose of screening for recessive genetic diseases is to alert potential parents of their carrier status to allow them to make informed decisions about offspring that may be born with a disease. In this case there is a 1 in 4 (or 25%) chance of this couple having an offspring with this recessive condition. This 25% chance applies each time this couple has a child. Tap OFFSPRING to see the results of a pregnancy. For example, people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry can access screening for some recessive genetic diseases. Screening programs for Tay-Sachs disease (TSD) among Ashkenazi Jewish populations in Israel, North America and the UK have reduced the incidence of TSD by more than 90% in those countries. Another example is screening for beta-thalassemia. Programs in several countries, – including Cyprus, Greece, Spain and North America – have reduced the incidence of this disease. To find out more about genetic screening see the links to different organizations under "Resources".

genetic, screening, population, carrier, DNA, gene, risk, Jewish, Ashkenazi, Amish

  • ID: 16998
  • Source: DNALC

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