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Genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis
Alternative namesPrenatal diagnosis
For over 4000 years, people have noticed that certain diseases run in families, but the "why" was unknown until modern science showed how genetic information is transmitted.
Present-day medicine recognizes that genetic diseases are inherited based on the nature of DNA, genes , and chromosomes . Now that the human genome has been completely sequenced, scientists are better able to study how changes in DNA cause human disease. This will ultimately help in diagnosing and treating genetic disorders.
Genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis provides parents with the knowledge to make intelligent, informed decisions regarding possible pregnancy and its outcome. Based on genetic counseling, some parents (in the face of possibly lethal genetic disease) have forgone pregnancy and adopted children while others have opted for egg or sperm donation from an anonymous donor who is not likely to be a carrier of the specific disease.
Update Date: 7/25/2003Douglas R. Stewart, M. D., Division of Medical Genetics, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT