Genetics


Is Intermarriage the Answer?

By Rebecca Spence

At one point in the 1970s, genetic counselors adopted a radical stance on the issue of intermarriage: They routinely advised Jews who carried the genetic mutation that leads to a rare neurological genetic disease found in the Ashkenazic population to marry non-Jews. Their logic was that if a carrier bore offspring with a non-Jew, the likelihood of the child inheriting the genetic mutation would be greatly reduced.Read More


New Fanconi Genes Found

By Eric Herschthal

Two new genes related to Fanconi anemia were discovered in August 2005, bringing to 11 the number of genes identified as having links to the disease.Read More


Where To Go for Support and Help

Here you will find a list of places to go for support and help.Read More


Poll Finds Most Are Ignorant of Gaucher

By Elisha Sauers

In a recent telephone survey, researchers presented the following set of symptoms to hundreds of hematologists and oncologists from around the world: A 42-year-old man has complaints of chronic fatigue and bone pain, while suffering from a low blood-platelet count and an enlarged liver and spleen.Read More


Dutch Team Investigates Cancer Risk

A team of researchers with the University of Amsterdam Academy Medical Center has rejected the notion that Jewish genetics are at the root of an increased risk of cancer among sufferers of Gaucher disease.Read More


Annual Guide to Jewish Genetic Diseases

The Forward presents this section to provide information on some of the more serious Jewish genetic diseases. There are about 20 “Ashkenazic diseases,” not counting the higher rates of at least four cancer-related genes. The diseases are more prevalent in the Eastern European Jewish population because of centuries of endogamy — literally, “marrying within.”Read More


Drug May Prolong Lives of Tay-Sachs Babies

By Shoshana Olidort

For the first time ever, infants with Tay-Sachs disease may have a fighting chance at prolonging their lives.In July, the pharmaceutical company Actelion approved a contract for clinical trials of the drug Zavesca for treatment of infants with Tay-Sachs disease. The proposal marks the first clinical trial ever to involve infants suffering from theRead More


NYU Move To Offer 16 Tests Ups the Ante for Screening

By Talia Bloch

In September, New York University Medical Center will become the first medical facility in the country to offer Ashkenazic Jewish couples tests for 16 inheritable genetic diseases, an expansion from the nine tests it offered until a year ago. Welcomed by some in the medical community as an advance in patient care, the move is prompting others toRead More


Mixed-heritage Family Deals With Genetic Tragedy

By Shoshana Olidort

When Rachaeli Fier uttered her first word — abba, or father — her parents had no idea it would be her last. Rachaeli was born a perfect baby girl, a “designer baby,” as the hospital’s delivery staff called her. Now, Eric and Nicole Fier watch helplessly as Rachaeli spirals downward in rapid, steady regression. Two-and-a-half-year-oldRead More


Breast Cancer Test Patent Causing a Furor

By Karen Iris Tucker

An American firm’s new European patent on a screening test for a genetic mutation that causes breast cancer has created an uproar among geneticists in Israel and Europe, who say the patent raises ethical questions because it targets Ashkenazic Jews.The firm, Myriad Genetics, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was granted the EuropeanRead More


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