Understanding Genetics: A Primer for Couples and Families

Understanding Genetics: A Primer for Couples and Families

Understanding Genetics: A Primer for Couples and Families

Understanding Genetics: A Primer for Couples and Families

Synopsis

Genetics and genetic disorders are demystified for couples, parents and patients in this guide written by a leading official in the field.

Excerpt

How do we experience genetics in our everyday lives? There are announcements about new discoveries in the paper or on the radio. We get into debates about genetically modified food and human cloning. Or someone in our family is diagnosed with a birth defect or genetic disease.

Most books or classes about genetics start with the basics and move forward from there. Such a strategy is useful in school, but school and life are different things. This book aims to cover the same information but in a way that reflects how most people have their first brush with genetics: when a disease is diagnosed in your family.

Outside of school, you are more likely to encounter genetics in a doctor's office than in a laboratory. But what does that mean? The first part of this book describes the different professionals you are likely to meet in a genetics clinic, explains the information they gather, and gives an overview of some tricky concepts. It also includes a chapter on the basics of DNA and chromosomes. The second part focuses on pregnancy and prenatal diagnosis. Parts three, four, and five discuss genetic problems and birth defects as they affect children, teens, and adults, respectively.

The last chapter of each section I have devoted to some other considerations. These matters are tangential to genetics but are very much a part of patients' lives. Some of these are ethical issues, such as when to involve a teenager in medical decision making. Others are strictly legal definitions or food for thought. I do not presume to be an expert in psychology or law, and readers who would like more information in these . . .

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