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J Fam Health Care. 2010;20(2):42-4.

Genetics: what's it got to do with family health care?

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  • 1NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre, Birmingham.


Genetics is an important contributory factor in many medical conditions. Having an understanding of the genetic basis of diseases can therefore be helpful in identifying and supporting people who have, or are at risk of having, a genetic condition. Most of the current practical applications relate to conditions which are known to have a definite mode of inheritance (for instance cystic fibrosis or familial hypercholesterolaemia) or which are due to chromosomal anomalies (such as Down syndrome). Current research projects are attempting to identify and understand the genetic factors associated with common diseases (such as diabetes and Crohn's disease) but it will be some time before these are likely to be useful clinically. Key skills in the delivery of a holistic family practice service include being able to collect a genetic family history, identifying people at risk and knowing how to refer to specialist services.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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