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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.

I know someone with multiple sclerosis. Is this disease passed down through family genes?
     William Gahl, M.D.: Studying rare inborn errors of metabolism through the observation and treatment of patients in the clinic and through biochemical, molecular biological, and cell biological investigations in the laboratory. His lab focuses on a number of disorders, including cystinosis, Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, alkaptonuria, and sialic acid diseases. HI, Multiple sclerosis does have a genetic basis. In fact, a couple of different genes have been discovered to cause this disease. However, not all the people who inherit those genetic mutations get symptoms. Furthermore, the signs and symptoms are extremely variable. MS is a tough disease, and I admire your friend for his/her courage in dealing with this disorder. There is a great deal of hope, however, since clinical treatment trials for this malady are underway.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

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