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The Genetics Of Mental Illness

The Genetics of Psychiatric Disorders….Such as We Know Them Have you ever noticed that many things run in families? Whether it's heart disease, arthritis or red hair, it is often fairly simple to trace the lines of inheritance throughout the generations. But sometimes, clarity is hard to come by. In some families, several different hereditary disor...

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Cancer Genetics and Genetic Counseling Made Simple (Cancer Genetics Part I)

It can be confusing to say that cancer is genetic but also that most of the time it is not hereditary. It is genetic in the sense that it involves our genes, but most of the time there are gene changes that occur long after we are born, that were not passed down to us by our parents. This also means that we will generally not pass them on to our ch...

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The Why, Not The How, Of Prenatal Testing

Throughout the last 50 years or so, many prenatal testing options have become available, the two most common being amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS).These allow for a woman or a couple to determine certain health issues of an unborn baby. Prenatal testing will never guarantee a healthy child, as many genetic disorders and birth defe...

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Ask Me Why Being a Twin is Not Cute!

That's me on the right. On the left, is my sister Donna. And incidentally, we never dress alike, but when in Ann Arbor … Go Blue! "Oh my God - you guys are identical!"But really, the fact that we look alike doesn't mean we are identical.  Everyone's first question upon finding out my sister and I are twins is, "Are you identical or frater...

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Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

For the last 10 - 15 years, direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing has become a very popular tool for ancestry testing as well as determining disease risk. There are a lot of misconceptions in the public about what these tests reveal, and how accurate they are. Several years ago I was chatting over Thanksgiving dinner with my cousins about doing ...

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Genetic Mythbusters - Part II

In Genetic MythBusters Part 1, I discussed the idea of genetic conditions skipping a generation. If you read it, you know that nothing actually does skip a generation. Another common myth is that there is a really high risk for birth defects when people who are related to each other have children together. In actuality, the risk is increased, but n...

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Genetic Mythbusters - Part I

In this post I thought I would start talking about some general genetics myths that I find many people share. First, the idea of diseases or disorders skipping a generation. From a genetic standpoint, there really is no such thing as skipping a generation. This is because you cannot pass on what you don't have. So if your father has, for example, a...

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