Definition of Genetic disease
Genetic disease: A disease caused by an abnormality in an individual's genome.
There are a number of different types of genetic inheritance:
The sequence of the human genome provides the first holistic view of our genetic heritage. While not yet complete, continued refinement of the data bring us ever closer to a complete human genome reference sequence. The 46 human chromosomes (22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes and 2 sex chromosomes) between them house almost 3 billion base pairs of DNA that contains about 30 to 40,000 protein-coding genes. The coding regions make up less than 5% of the genome (the function of the remaining DNA is not clear) and some chromosomes have a higher density of genes than others.
Most genetic diseases are the direct result of a mutation in one gene. However, one of the most difficult problems ahead is to find out how genes contribute to diseases that have a complex pattern of inheritance, such as in the cases of diabetes, asthma, cancer and mental illness. In all these cases, no one gene has the yes/no power to say whether a person has a disease or not. It is likely that more than one mutation is required before the disease is manifest, and a number of genes may each make a subtle contribution to a person's susceptibility to a disease; genes may also affect how a person reacts to environmental factors.
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012
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