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


How a Young Woman Copes With a Rare Genetic Disorder

By Sarah Givner

‘My gums are peeling,” said a 22-year-old Elli Resnick to her mother as she removed a piece of salmon-colored flesh from her mouth.Other clues had been tipping off Resnick that she might be ill: She suffered from frequent bloody noses, always had a “potato chip feeling” in her mouth and, because she couldn’t eat salad, believed she hadRead More


San Francisco To Get a Genetics Center

By Talia Bloch

Four years ago, Michael Rancer, an administrator at the University of California, Berkeley, lost his son to familial dysautonomia, a rare genetic disorder found among Ashkenazic Jews that causes the nervous system to deteriorate. Today, Rancer is one of the prime movers behind a proposed new center for Jewish genetic diseases in San Francisco thatRead More


NEWS AND ADVANCES IN BRIEF

By Shoshana Olidort

When clinical trials began two years ago for treatment of Late Onset Tay-Sachs with the drug Zavesca, the trial was scheduled to last one year, with a possible 12-month extension. But because LOTS is such a rare disease, with only 200 known cases nationwide, researchers at New York University’s School of Medicine and the University Hospital ofRead 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


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