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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

If a child is born with health problems, yet the parents do not, then how do you come up with a solution when the heritable traits don't run in the family?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: Developing genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translating genetic and genomic information for the public. Some children have health problems that are genetic due to autosomal recessive genetic inheritance. Recessive inheritance results from each of the parents carrying one copy of a gene mutation while the other copy has the normal version of the gene. When the child has two copies of the changed gene (one from each parent) they may have health issues. Cystic fibrosis is an example. Sometimes a mutation or gene change may arise spontaneously in a child and cause health problems. This is called a sporadic gene mutation.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

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