Did You Get This From Your Father? Or Your Mother?

Understanding the genetics of inheritance of features has helped us understand how to best get medical care and is the framework for cure in some situations.Our genes come from both parents, but they have very different effects when they are from the mother or from the father. And during fetal life we evolve in genetic ways that further effects us.. Hanson and Gluckman in Pediatric Research in 2004 defined a model of how certain diseases develop from the earliest stages of life. In a case like Polycystic Ovaries it is possible that there is a developmental origin of that disease. Genetic testing is coming fast and furiously at us. We have discussed some of this in other posts as well. Here is what I suggest
1. Know your family history, to the best of your ability, for those who were adopted or do not know their genetic information, consider genetic testing with your physician, there are many places but at WHP we recommend Counsyl Test
2. Keep informed as to what tests are available
3. Decide if you want to be tested
4. Get an appropriate test, and get the best test you can get, for some diseases the cause of polygenic and some oligogenetic...many genes or two few copies of important material
5. Do your best to get good information about any of the genetic tests that you have and how that will affect your health and your health care, and if you test positive for a genetic test, consider telling your family members to get tested
Then, go through this list often, as obviously, things change. Genetic diseases are often caused by a single little alteration in the DNA that we have, but many are not, they are caused by having too many copies of a sequence of DNA, or a disease that might change or develop as we age. Apparently the genes we inherit from our mothers and the genetic changes we get from our fathers can produce vastly different effects. This is a medical consequence called "imprinting." For instance, one example  in the case of a muscle weakness disease called myotonia, if you got the genes from your dad they are transmitted to you coated and you can avoid the symptoms until you are a teen, whereas if you got those same genes from your mom, then it actually begins to be manifested in fetal life and it's almost always very fatal very early in life. That's where the first principal is so important: know as much as you can, if you can, about your family. It may then take a lot of experts to help you work out steps 2-5 in my list of 'to do's" on tests that are evolving very quickly.


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