Genetics


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


Zebrafish Provide Key to Unlocking Secrets of Fanconi Anemia

By Mark I. Levenstein

The zebrafish, an inch-long fish indigenous to the Ganges River in East India and Burma, is proving to be a useful animal for understanding Fanconi Anemia.Drs. John Postlethwait and Tom Titus of the University of Oregon’s Institute of Neuroscience told the Forward that they have almost completed mapping the protein sequence of the lastRead More


Gene Found for Dystonia-related Disorder

By Mordechai Shinefield

Scientists have unlocked the gene responsible for a rare and debilitating genetic disorder.Rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism, or RDP, is a rare genetic disorder whose sufferers share symptoms with both dystonia and Parkinson’s disease. In an article published in the July 21 issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron, a research team detailed itsRead More


Cord Blood Transplants Eyed As Therapy for Some Diseases

By E.B. Solomont

In a medical development with potentially far-reaching effects, researchers have transplanted cord blood into newborns with a rare genetic disease, preserving their brain development and performing a life-saving treatment for babies with a fatal genetic disorder.Scientists from Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina atRead More


A New Treatment for Gaucher? Compound Intrigues

By Lea Winerman

Researchers have developed a chemical compound that could lead to a new treatment for Gaucher disease, the most common genetic disease among Ashkenazi Jews, which causes problems including anemia, poor blood clotting, an enlarged liver and spleen, bone damage and, in the most serious cases, neurological problems.The newly discovered compoundRead More


Who Gets Tested for BRCA, and Why?

By Adam Marcus

Many Jewish women of Ashkenazi origin face an increased risk of inherited breast and ovarian cancers, the result of mutations in two genes that became relatively common to Eastern Europeans. Women with bad copies of either gene, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, have a lifetime risk of breast cancer that approaches 85%. Their overall risk of ovarianRead More


Surgery Promises Relief for Dystonia

By Ethan Porter

When Peter Cohen entered a public swimming pool recently, he was greeted with several rounds of applause. Cohen is not a person whom one would normally expect to be met with such a reception; he has never been an Olympian, nor has he ever held public office.Merely attempting to move about freely in a pool was regarded as heroic, because, as isRead More


DNA Bank Dilemma: Who Owns the Data?

Two years ago, the Israeli company Genomica embarked on a comprehensive and unprecedented study in which DNA samples were collected from thousands of patients to build a private DNA bank for the purpose of finding new disease-causing genes.The establishment of the private DNA bank caught the Health Ministry off guard; no public debate had beenRead More





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