Genetics


Author Enters Debate Over Jews and I.Q.

By Eric Schwartz

The Rev. William Sanchez of Albuquerque, N.M., has more than just the standard priest’s cross hanging from his neck. After a genetic test showed that some of his ancestors from Spain were Jewish, he took to wearing a Star of David, as well.Read More


Making Progress, Bit by (Rib)Bit

By Ben Ehrlich

In their research on Fanconi anemia, Maureen Hoatlin and her four associates at the Oregon Health & Science University have been getting groundbreaking help from a small, slimy source. Hoatlin’s lab has shown that the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) has Fanconi genes and can be used to understand the complex set of proteins that protects our cells from cancer. “The normal function of the Fanconi genes is not completely understood,” Hoatlin explained, “but every time a cell replicates, damage can occur, and Fanconi genes are somehow preventing that damage.”Read More


PET Scan Aids in New Hyperinsulinism Cure

By Erin McKigney

After 1-month-old Lily Meyers suffered two seizures in the span of two weeks, her parents faced a terribly daunting task: wading through the endless possibilities of what, exactly, was plaguing their daughter.Read More


Tay-Sachs Association Turns 50

By Eric Schwartz

When it was founded in 1957, the National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association was no more than a group of New York parents who had dedicated themselves to ending Tay-Sachs and the genetic diseases related to it. Tay-Sachs may still be around, but at the NTSAD’s 50th anniversary gala in October, the group will have much to celebrate.Read More


Can Testing Ever Be a Mistake?

By Karen Iris Tucker

Even when given the option of free or low-cost genetic testing, there are some who have consciously decided against it out of fear that the results could lead to discrimination from insurance companies or employers.Read More


Similarities Between Cerebral Palsy and ML4 Make Diagnosis a Challenge

By Alexa Bryn

‘Diagnostic hell” was the way that Mary Jo Reich, a mother of two from Short Hills, N.J., described her son Scott’s battery of misdiagnoses. Although pediatricians had told Reich that Scott was following a normal developmental curve for the first eight months of his life, she had always sensed a problem. “He was less than an hour old, and I felt something was wrong in his eyes,” she said. “He wasn’t here.” When Scott was 1 and did not walk, hardly spoke and continued to have low muscle tone, the Reichs were told that he had cerebral palsy. It was not until Scott was 21 months old, after the Reichs had traveled up and down the East Coast in search of a second opinion, that Scott had a conjunctival biopsy, a procedure used to count the eye’s abnormal storage bodies. After the procedure, Scott received a confirmed diagnosis for the first time: Mucolipidosis Type 4, commonly known as “ML4.”Read More


Two New Gaucher Meds on Horizon

By Jacob Victor

Two new oral treatments for Gaucher disease, the most common of the Jewish genetic diseases, have reached Phase II clinical trials and could be on the market within the next few years. Two pharmaceutical companies, Genzyme and Amicus Therapeutics, are each developing their own oral drugs and have taken very different approaches to tackling the enzyme deficiency that is at the root of the disease.Read More


Campuses Offer Genetic Tests (No Studying Required)

By Claire Levenson

At the Pennsylvania summer camp where she was working as a counselor, Shoshana Rosen got tested for nine Jewish genetic diseases and found out she was a carrier of cystic fibrosis. Thanks to the Victor Center for Jewish Genetic Diseases, the tests she received were free of charge. Had she gone to a private laboratory, it would have cost around $2,000.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


Building a Memorial From Strands of DNA

By Talia Bloch

More than six decades after the victims of the Holocaust met their fateful end, a new genetically based initiative could give some of the departed the last respects they never received.Read More





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  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
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  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
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