Genetic disorder  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A genetic disorder is a condition caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes. While some diseases, such as cancer, are due to genetic abnormalities acquired in a few cells during life, the term "genetic disease" most commonly refers to diseases present in all cells of the body and present since conception. Most disorders are quite rare and affect one person in every several thousands or millions. Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common genetic disorders; around 5% of the population of the United States carry at least one copy of the defective gene. Some types of recessive gene disorder confer an advantage in the heterozygous state in certain environments.

Multifactorial and polygenic (complex) disorders

Genetic disorders may also be complex, multifactorial, or polygenic, meaning that they are likely associated with the effects of multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors. Multifactorial disorders include heart disease and diabetes. Although complex disorders often cluster in families, they do not have a clear-cut pattern of inheritance. This makes it difficult to determine a person’s risk of inheriting or passing on these disorders. Complex disorders are also difficult to study and treat because the specific factors that cause most of these disorders have not yet been identified.

On a pedigree, polygenic diseases do tend to “run in families”, but the inheritance does not fit simple patterns as with Mendelian diseases. But this does not mean that the genes cannot eventually be located and studied. There is also a strong environmental component to many of them (e.g., blood pressure).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Genetic disorder" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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