Genetics


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


Doctor Writes ‘Epic Saga’ Of Jews in Medicine

By Max Gross

As Frank Heynick was nearing the completion of his gigantic tome, “Jews and Medicine: An Epic Saga,” he came across the name of an important doctor, George Sternberg, whom he had neglected to mention.The discovery of Sternberg did not make Heynick happy.“I got through a lot of trimming to keep it at 600 pages,” Heynick said. The ideaRead More


Colon Cancer Seen Linked to Bloom Gene

By Ross Schneiderman

Ashkenazi Jews are two to three times more likely to develop colon cancer if they carry the gene for Bloom syndrome, according to a September 2002 study by American and Israeli researchers.Dr. Kenneth Offit, senior author of the study and chief of the clinical genetics service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, saidRead More


Procedure Offers Hope for Families

By Rachel Zuckerman

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, a fairly new procedure that allows embryos created outside the uterus to be screened for genetic diseases, has been embraced by some Jewish couples who carry the mutations for diseases such as Tay-Sachs. But even as the procedure, known as PGD, offers these families the hope of healthy children — and in theoryRead More


Finding Your Roots

The search for Jewish roots in Germany may be easier now, thanks to a new research center that opened last fall.The Ephraim Gustav Hoenlein Genealogy Project is designed to help Jews of Germanic descent trace their origins. It is a joint project of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and the Jewish Community of Würzburg.“This will hopefullyRead 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


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