Some genetic disorders are more likely to occur among people who trace their ancestry to a particular geographic area. People in an ethnic group often share certain versions of their genes, which have been passed down from common ancestors. If one of these shared genes contains a disease-causing variant (also known as a mutation), a particular genetic disorder may be more frequently seen in the group.
Examples of genetic conditions that are more common in particular ethnic groups are sickle cell disease, which is more common in people of African, African American, or Mediterranean heritage; and Tay-Sachs disease, which is more likely to occur among people of Ashkenazi (eastern and central European) Jewish or French Canadian ancestry. It is important to note, however, that these disorders can occur in any ethnic group.
Topics in the Inheriting Genetic Conditions chapter
- What does it mean if a disorder seems to run in my family?
- Why is it important to know my family health history?
- What are the different ways a genetic condition can be inherited?
- If a genetic disorder runs in my family, what are the chances that my children will have the condition?
- What are reduced penetrance and variable expressivity?
- What do geneticists mean by anticipation?
- What are genomic imprinting and uniparental disomy?
- Are chromosomal disorders inherited?
- Why are some genetic conditions more common in particular ethnic groups?
- What is heritability?
The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.