All posts by yechangenetics

How Genetic Conditions Can Be Managed or Treated

Many genetic conditions result from gene alterations that are present in every cell in the body. These conditions often affect many systems of the body, and most cannot be treated. However, there may be approaches to manage and treat some of the associated symptoms and signs.
For some genetic disorders known as inborn errors of metabolism, which are caused by genetic changes that disrupt specific enzyme production, treatments include replacement of the specific enzyme that is missing or dietary changes. Limiting some substances in the diet sometimes prevent the accumulation of toxic substances that are broken down by the enzyme.
For other genetic disorders, management and treatment approaches are designed to improve specific symptoms and signs associated with the condition. These strategies vary by the condition and are specific to the health needs of an individual. A genetic condition associated with a heart defect, for example, might be treated with a heart transplant or with surgery to repair the defect. Sometimes, condition such as sickle cell disease can be treated with bone marrow transplant,
Some genetic changes are closely associated with risk of future health problems. Familial breast cancer is a well-known example. Management of such condition includes regular cancer screening or preventive surgery to get rid of the tissues at highest risk of becoming tumorous.
References
https://www.britannica.com/science/human-genetic-disease/Management-of-genetic-disease
https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/consult/treatment

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Is Our Decision to Divorce Genetic?

Previous studies have shown that offspring of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced. We need to ask ourselves one question. Is divorce passed across generations due to social and psychological factors or could there be an influence of genes at play?
According to researchers at Lund University and Virginia Commonwealth University in Sweden, divorce may be caused by genetics and not social factors. The researchers analyzed population registries in Sweden and found that individuals who were adopted bear a resemblance to their biological siblings and parents in their divorce histories.
According to Jessica Salvatore, the study’s first author and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU, the researchers were trying to understand why divorce run in families. Using Swedish national registry data, they found evidence that genetic factors mainly explained the transmission of divorce.
The findings of the study are notable since they depart from the narrative in divorce literature that suggests that children of divorced parents have a higher likelihood of getting divorced because they live with parents who struggle to manage conflicts or lack the necessary commitments. These children, as they grow up, internalize their parents’ behavior and replicate them in their relationships.

References
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319661.php
https://lifestyle.thecable.ng/study-says-divorce-genetic/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171004151226.htm

Johann Gregor Mendel: The Father of Genetics

Gregor Johann was born in a German-speaking family in the Silesian (today’s Czech Republic). He gained recognition as the founder of genetics. Although people had known for many years that crossbreeding of plants and animals could favor certain desirable qualities, Mendel’s experiments established many of heredity rules.
Through his pea plant experiments, Mendel discovered the laws of inheritance. He realized that genes are in pairs and are passed on as distinct units, from both parents. Mendel tracked separation of parental genes and how they appeared in the progeny as recessive or dominant traits. He identified mathematical inheritance patterns from one generation to the next. His Laws of Heredity are stated as:
The Law of Segregation: A gene pair defines each inherited trait. Genes of parents are randomly divided into the sex cells so that those cells have only one gene of the pair. Therefore, each parent passes on one genetic allele to its offspring when sex cells unite during fertilization.
The Law of Independent Assortment: Provides that when characteristics are inherited, different hereditary factors arrange independently during the production of gamete, giving different qualities an equal chance of occurring together.
The Law of Dominance: If an organism has alternate forms of a gene, it will express the form that is dominant.
References
http://www.dnaftb.org/1/bio.html
https://www.biography.com/people/gregor-mendel-39282

Do Genes Play Any Role in Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are to some extent life-threatening conditions. It has been established that a person who has suffered from anorexia for more than six years has a higher chance of succumbing to the same if no medical intervention is sought. The reason for this is that lack of sufficient nutrients in the human body can cause major body organs to fail, leading to death.
Recent scientific research has pointed at genes as one of the major causes of eating disorders. Other causes of such disorders include psychological pressures fueled by the society’s acceptable standards of beauty. From the study, millions of Americans of varying ages suffer from an eating disorder condition. Around 60 to 70 percent of these individuals have inherited the disorder from their biological parents.
According to the study published in Plos One, eating disorders are mainly biologically-driven, and persons who suffer from the same should not feel stigmatized. They should instead understand and accept their situation and seek medical and psychiatric help. Through medical help, recovery from an eating disorder is highly guaranteed. It is also important for the family and friends of those suffering from an eating disorder to be supportive to speed up the recovery of the person suffering from it.
References
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-genetics-of-eating-disorders/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010958/

Men and Women: Genetic Differences

If you are a man and you think women are complex, there is new evidence that you are correct, at least when it comes to genes.
Chromosomes have the set of instructions that create an organism. Women have two X chromosomes copies. On the other hand, men have one Y chromosome and X chromosome, the former being responsible for traits that make men male, including the ability to produce sperm and male sex organs. Since the X chromosomes contain a large instruction manual compared to the Y chromosomes, the solution of biology is to inactivate one X chromosome in females. Therefore, only one functional one X chromosome is available in men and women.
Depending on the type of gene, having twofold copies can matter very much or very little. When genes from the inactive X are activated and expressed, they create a strong concentration of certain genes. Laura Carrel, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in Penn State College of Medicine and her colleagues determined the type of genes that normally escape inactivation and the place they are found on the inactive X chromosome. These researchers found that most of the genes that escape inactivation are grouped.
According to a study titled “in X-linked gene expression in females,” the inactive X chromosome in females is not as silent as people thought. The effects of genes from the inactive X chromosome might explain some differences between men and women which are not attributable to sex hormones.
References
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323124659.htm
http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask38

Natural Selection is Still Occurring in Human Populations Today

New favorable traits develop when genetic mutations occur that offer a survival edge. These beneficial mutations are passed on by the survivors of each generation. Eventually, the mutations became common in the general population.
The genomic revolution has enabled scientists to see the process of natural selection by making the genetic blueprint of thousands of individuals available for comparison. Scientists infer which traits are dwindling or dwindling by tracking the relative fall and rise of certain mutations across generations of people.
In a large-scale study, researchers at Columbia University analyzed the genomes of 60,000 individuals of European ancestry and 150,000 people in Britain. They introduced a method that enabled them to see the ongoing selection in people by identifying genetic variants that have an effect on survival to a given age. Two population-level mutations were observed. In women over 70, the scientists observed a drop in the frequency of the ApoE4 gene associated with Alzheimer’. Starting in middle age, they also saw a similar drop in the CHRNA3 gene mutation linked to heavy smoking in men.
They were shocked to identify just two common mutations in the entire human genome that mainly influences survival.
The researcher s found that a predisposition for LDL (bad) cholesterol and high cholesterol, heart diseases, and high BMI were associated with shorter life spans. Also, they found that people genetically predisposed to delayed child-bearing lived longer.
References
http://www.sci-news.com/genetics/natural-selection-modern-human-populations-05198.html
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/04/natural-selection-still-us

Genetic Factors that Cause Female Infertility

Many women are unable to deliver healthy babies due to genetic factors. Occasionally, this is caused by an inherited chromosome abnormality. It may also be caused by a single-gene defect that is passed from parent to child. Also, if some women in your family have had difficulties conceiving due to endometriosis, premature menopause or other factors, you may experience the same problems.
Chromosomally abnormal embryos normally have a low rate of implantation in the womb of the mother, leading to miscarriages. If implantation of an abnormal embryo occurs, there may be still a miscarriage, or a baby is born with development delays, physical problems, or mental retardation.
There are five main kinds of chromosome abnormalities: translocation, aneuploidy, mutation, inversion, and deletion. Translocation is one of the most common kinds of chromosome abnormalities. Although parents with translocation are frequently normal, their embryos may receive too little or too much genetic material, resulting in a miscarriage.
Changes in the DNA sequence of a gene causes mutations that are known as single-gene abnormalities. Usually, single-gene disorders show the history of specific genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis (an incurable disease that affect the mucous glands of vital organs) and Tay Sachs (a fatal condition that causes harmful quantities of a fatty substance to build up in nerve cells and tissues in the brain). Although they are rare, these diseases are typically devastating to a family.
References
https://fertilitynj.com/infertility/female-infertility/genetic-causes/
http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=1094&sectionid=61904709