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Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2009;10:175-92. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genom.030308.111406.

Genetic testing in Israel: an overview.

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The Genetic Institute, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel.


In Israel, genetic screening and testing are widespread and are on the rise. The socialized medical system, the governmental National Program for the Detection and Prevention of Birth Defects, the central registry of genetic disorders, and the availability of medical genetic units influence the extensive utilization of genetic services. Israeli society is a complex one-ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse, comprised of Jews of many ethnic backgrounds, as well as Christian and Moslem Arabs, Druze, and Bedouins. Multiple founder mutations have been documented in these various ethnic populations, often down to the level of specific villages or tribes. Although carrier screening and prenatal diagnostic testing are well established in the general population, the rejection of pregnancy termination by many religious communities often prevents participation in testing. Culturally appropriate genetic programs have been initiated in religious Jewish and non-Jewish communities in an attempt to overcome cultural barriers and reduce the frequency of severe genetic diseases nationwide.

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