Genetics


Gaucher Disease Patients Get New Hope From Drugs

By Zachary Goelman

Gaucher disease patients once had to rely on painful and time-consuming injections. New oral drug treatments are dramatically improving their quality of life.Read More


Where To Go for Support and Help

Where To Go for Support and HelpRead More


Picture of Good Health: A Q&A with Susan Gross

By Elie Dolgin

Yeshiva University officially launched its new Program for Jewish Genetic Health with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February. But the program’s roots go back much further than that. Inspired by Yeshiva’s Tay-Sachs community screens of the 1970s, Dr. Susan Gross, medical director of the human genetics laboratory at the Jacobi Medical Center, launched a pilot effort five years ago to provide New York’s Jewish community with accessible and affordable testing for recessive genetic diseases.Read More


Couples Aware Program Gives Rabbis Tools To Counsel Couples on Screening

By Daniella Wexler

When it comes to weddings, even the most secular of Jewish couples often reverts to tradition and asks a rabbi to officiate at the ceremony. So if the Jewish community needs to get an important message across to prospective parents at all levels of religious involvement, how better to convey that information than through the rabbi with whom they’ve placed their trust at such a critical life juncture?Read More


Annual Guide to Jewish Genetic Diseases

There are about 20 known “Ashkenazic diseases,” though more are being discovered all the time. Here are diseases that are commonly screened for in Jewish couples who are planning to have children. In many of these diseases, Ashkenazic Jews are more likely to be carriers than the population at large. The list also includes four disorders known to be more prevalent among Sephardic Jews.Read More


A Laboratory Sleuth Follows the Trail From Gene Mutant To Search for a Cure

By Genevieve Wanucha

Two empty champagne bottles sit like trophies on the shelf. Their wrinkled foil labels catch the sun, scattering light onto hanging plants and genetics textbooks. These bottles lost their corks more than 10 years ago, after Susan Slaugenhaupt and her colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital discovered the disease-causing mutations responsible for two genetic disorders carried with increased frequency among people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.Read More


Persian Jewish Testing To Expand in N.Y., Though Reluctance Remains a Concern in L.A.

By Neda Afsarmanesh

The husband and wife who met with Catherine Quindipan did not expect the news. A community screening program among Persian Jews had revealed that they both were genetic carriers of a condition called hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM), a muscle-wasting disease that starts in early adulthood.Read More


DNA and You — Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish

The Human Genome Project turned 10 this year. In the decade since scientists first published our genetic blueprint, huge strides have been made in understanding the biological basis of inherited disease, the history of humankind and the role that genetics can play in modern medicine.Read More


May You Live Until 120: DNA Uncovers Secrets To Jewish Longevity

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

Life expectancy has risen steadily in recent years, with the average American now living for close to 80 years. But that’s nothing compared to the lifespans of people mentioned in the Bible. According to Genesis, Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, lived the longest, at 969 years of age, with others, including Adam and his kin, not far behind. But even lesser biblical lifespans are astronomical by today’s standards. Abraham reportedly lived to 175; Moses to 120.Read More


Sephardi Mutations Raise Calls for Expanded Test

By Naomi Zeveloff

Researchers have discovered the first mutations responsible for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer among “pure” Sephardi Jews, leading to calls for a more comprehensive genetic test for high-risk women in Israel. “When a woman of Sephardic origin used to come to our clinic, we would tell her, ‘You are not Ashkenazi, so you might have a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2, but it is hard to find it,’” said Dr. Michal Sagi, a genetic counselor at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, referencing the two genes that predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer.Read More


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