Disease and genetic inheritance

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Today we are going to comment on the Best Doctors Blog about the close relationship between some diseases and the genetic inheritance that parents pass on to their children through their genes.

It is safe to say that genes are the cornerstone of genetic inheritance, in so far as they contain our DNA, which in turn determines the instructions for making proteins in our body. Proteins carry out most of the functions within our cells: building structures, moving molecules and decomposing different types of toxins – to name but a few activities.

What is DNA?

Deoxyribonucleic acid (abbreviated as DNA) is a nucleic acid whose content contains the genetic instructions used in the development of all living organisms that we know of. If we address the nature of the deoxyribonucleic acid molecule, we will find that its natural purpose is the long-term conservation of genetic information.

As far as its structure is concerned, DNA takes the form of a double helix in which the information is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).

Now that we have learnt a little more about what makes up our DNA, we can concentrate on going deeper into the disease.

Where is the origin of genetic diseases?

The origin of this type of diseases, among which we can cite haemophilia or cystic fibrosis, is to be found in the mutations of the genes that can arise in our body. A transformation that modifies the instructions for making proteins, which causes them to malfunction or even results in the absence of some of them.

Genetic mutations can be inherited from one or both of our parents, although it is also possible to acquire a genetic mutation during our lifetime.

Regardless of the origin of the mutation, we may encounter the following three major types of diseases:

  • Those that affect a single gene, which are also known as single gene disorders.
  • Chromosomal disorders, where the chromosomes (or at least some of them) change or do not exist.
  • Those that manifest themselves through mutations on two or more genes – known as the Multifactor Disorder, in which the environment and our lifestyle can have an impact. Colon cancer is a prime example of this type of genetic disorder.

What tests can be performed to detect genetic diseases?

In order to check for genetic diseases, specialists perform tests on blood and other tissues with the aim of:

  • Discovering disease-genes that could be passed on to one’s children.
  • Locating genetic disorders in the fetus.
  • Identifying the presence of genetic diseases before the manifestation of symptoms in patients.
  • Comparing or ruling out previous diagnoses.

We at Best Doctors are convinced that this type of genetic testing can play a vital role in your well-being today, tomorrow, and may affect your children’s too. Be sure to consider it as a source of information that may prove to be beneficial to your health.

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