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Generic Chromosome DNA


updated: July 13, 2024


Congenital refers to a condition or trait that exists at birth. Congenital conditions or traits may be hereditary or result from an action or exposure occurring during pregnancy or at birth, or they may be due to a combination of these factors.


Congenital. Congenital isn't really a great descriptive term for what it means. It's really just a traditional way that doctors communicate that a disease or disorder or trait was seen or at least thought to have its origins in and around the time of pregnancy and birth. So, terms like congenital heart disease, for example, refer to structural defects in the heart that are noted shortly after birth or at the time of birth and differentiates it from more complex disorders like coronary heart disease, which usually develops as people get older.

Neil Hanchard
Neil A. Hanchard, M.B.B.S., D.Phil.

Senior Investigator

Center for Precision Health Research