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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 both of your parents are tall, how is it possible that their child could have dwarfism?
     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. There are two possible causes of dwarfism. In some families, each parent carries an autosomal recessive gene for dwarfism. The carrier parents each have a normal version of the gene so they do not have dwarfism. When they have children they have a 1 in 4 chance to each pass on the gene mutation to their child who then will have dwarfism. Dwarfism is also caused by a spontaneous mutation in a child. The mutation is present in either the egg or sperm that is donated to a pregnancy. So the parents do not have dwarfism, but their child does. That child who has dwarfism, has a 1 in 2 chance with each pregnancy, to have a child with dwarfism.
Flint Northern Academy in MI (11th grade student)

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