A proband is an individual being studied or reported on. A proband is usually the first affected individual in a family who brings a genetic disorder to the attention of the medical community.
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When genetic counselors take a family history to study how a condition or risk might be inherited, they often start with a proband. The proband is usually the person in the family who has first come to medical attention. This might be somebody who's affected with a genetic condition or somebody who's concerned that they're at risk.
Barbara Bowles Biesecker, Ph.D.
Associate Investigator, Social and Behavioral Research Branch; Head, Genetic Services Research Unit; Director, JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program
Ms. Biesecker's research and teaching activities focus on making genetic counseling as effective as possible, which is a growing challenge as new genetic technologies generate an avalanche of data and questions about the meaning of genetic tests. This data has highlighted the fact that behavioral researchers do not yet know enough about the best ways to help people decide how to use their own genetic information in making health and reproductive decisions. Since genetic counseling has a relatively sparse amount of research to guide its professionals, Ms. Biesecker and her colleagues are on the cutting edge of genetic counseling research.