A gene carries information that determines traits such as eye color or even things that cannot be seen, like blood type. There are two types of genes that we can inherit that affect the traits we express: dominant genes and recessive genes. Since genes come in pairs, there is a delicate interaction that occurs between dominant and recessive genes that results in the traits and characteristics that we inherit.

    There are multiple characterizations for how we inherit genes from our parents. One way in which we inherit genes is called autosomal recessive inheritance. Autosomal chromosomes refer to body chromosomes while allosomal chromosomes are what determine the sex of an individual. Autosomal recessive inheritance can result in certain traits, characteristics, or even genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle-cell anemia.

    How Does Autosomal Recessive Inheritance Work?

    For an individual to inherit a recessive genetic disorder, he or she must inherit two copies of the mutated gene associated with the condition. If an individual inherits one mutated recessive gene and one normal dominant gene, then he or she will be described as a genetic carrier. This means that the individual can carry a mutated gene associated with a genetic condition of the disorder. However, they are still at risk of passing this gene onto their children.

    How Do I Know If I’m a Carrier of an Autosomal Recessive Genetic Disorder?

    If you have a history of a genetic condition in your family, you may want to consider genetic carrier screening. that analyzes a blood sample to determine whether you carry a gene associated with a certain genetic disorder. If you are planning to have a child, and you have tested positive as a genetic carrier, your partner may want to consider genetic carrier screening as well.

    What Does a Positive Genetic Carrier Test Result Mean?

    If only one partner tests positive for a certain genetic disorder, there is no risk of the child inheriting the condition. If you and your partner both test positive as genetic carriers for the same condition, there is a that the child will inherit the disorder. In this case, you and your partner can opt for prenatal testing. Some examples of prenatal testing include amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.1 These techniques will give information to your doctor that will indicate a definitive diagnosis as to whether your child has inherited a genetic disorder.

    Consider Working With a Genetic Counselor

    If you believe that you may be a carrier of a genetic disorder, work with a genetic counselor to understand your risk of having a child with the condition. These trained healthcare professionals will analyze your family history in addition to your history of previous pregnancies to provide

    options that help you understand your personal risk of having a child with an autosomal recessive disorder. A genetic counselor, in addition to helping you understand the inheritance patterns of genetic diseases, supports expecting parents throughout the prenatal testing process. When you have information regarding your child’s health prior to his/her birth, you have time to plan for any necessary medical treatment or make changes in preparing for your child.

    1. Prenatal Diagnosis: Amniocentesis and CVS. The American Academy of Family Physicians. . Publication date: October 15, 2005. Accessed June 03, 2017.



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