Category: genetics

Does Your Child Suffer From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Does Your Child Suffer From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) is a term used to describe a range of conditions that occur to a person whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. People that suffer from this may have physical problems or suffer from impaired vision and hearing. Also, they tend to have difficulty in learning and communicating.

In a nutshell, the effects are usually physical and mental problems. There are various types of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorders, yet, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is considered the most severe.

Causes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

When a baby is a womb, it is still developing its organs, regardless of the trimester. That includes organs such as the brain and the liver. That said, when the mother consumes the alcohol, it passes through the placenta to the baby.

Due to the baby’s undeveloped liver, the alcohol is not well processed by the baby. Hence, the ability to cause physical damage to the baby’s organs. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is also known to cause miscarriage.

The alcohol inhibits the proper circulation of oxygen and nutrition that the baby requires.

Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

As previously mentioned, the effects are usually physical and mental problems. However, they also include social and behavioral problems. That said, the severity of the symptom varies. Let us take a look at some of them.

Physical Symptoms

There a few distinctive features that tend to stand out, and one needs to look out for. They include:

  • Small eye openings
  • Thin upper lip
  • The head is smaller than usual head
  • They are shorter than normal in terms of height
  • The ridge between the nose and upper lip (The Philtrum) is smooth
  • Vision and hearing impairment
  • Heart defects and problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Slow physical growth
  • Abnormal bone growth

Social And Behavioral Problems

  • Poor time management
  • Problems making new friends or maintaining friendships
  • Poor task management
  • Difficulty setting goals and keeping them

Mental Problems

  • Brain size is smaller than usual
  • Growth of brain is slow
  • Very hyperactive
  • Problems maintaining attention
  • Difficulty in learning, especially with Math
  • Problems in speech, as well as learning any language
  • Problems with coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble remembering anything (Memory problems)

Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

You should not drink at all when pregnant. It is advisable that you steer clear of any form of an alcoholic beverage if you are pregnant, or working towards pregnancy. Most women often realize that they are pregnant three months later.

Staying completely away from alcohol is the best prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This includes all types of wines and other alcoholic beverages.

LINKAGE BETWEEN GENETICS AND ADDICTION

LINKAGE BETWEEN GENETICS AND ADDICTION

There is a convinced link between a person’s DNA segment and addiction they form. Sometimes it comes from your societal surrounding, peers, poor mental state or stress but that is not always the situation actually. One can be trapped simply in drug addiction of any kind due to its genetics which comes from family straight away. Everyone has certain probability to form an addiction, as the bodily mechanism of dependence occurs in your brain irrespective of liquor or drug exposure. When your mind practices something pleasing, it forms nerve pathways that crave the pleasurable substance repetitively. The illness of addiction forms when those nerve pathways become more continuing and swerve.

However, as exposed in a study directed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, those with direct family who fight addiction have a 50 to 60 percent more possibilities of becoming an alcoholic or drug abuser at some point in their lifespan. This increases the question as to whether addiction is triggered by inheritances alone, or the atmosphere in which a child is raised up. Conferring to a study led by the Colorado Adoption Project, a genetic association does increase the probability of addiction, even when children are not raised in an atmosphere that encourages addiction. Their genetics play a vital factor in general hazard of addiction even when they are not frequently uncovered to drugs and alcohol. However, a parallel research displays that atmosphere plays an even greater part in addiction problems and stoppage.

At least semi of a person’s vulnerability to drug dependence can be associated to genetic aspects. Announcers at an April 8 congressional hearing sketched new investigation on the genetic origin for addiction and suggested ways to incorporate those findings into cure. The hearing was prearranged by APA’s Science Government Relations Office.

Investigators first need to handle and solve public misinterpretation and disbelief regarding genetic testing. That means doctors and the public need to better realize the connections between genetics and addiction, stated Alexandra Shields, director of the Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities. Based on a state survey, lone 5 percent of primary-care physicians sense self-assured in their capability to understand genetic tests, and only 4 percent would feel self-confident telling treatment grounded on genetics.

There are very respectable explanations for physicians to pay consideration to the impact advances in genetic testing are expected to have on their capability to handle patients, said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Exploitation. “Understanding the multifaceted connections between the factors involved in drug abuse and habit is dangerous to their effective stoppage and treatment,” she said. With new statistics quickly piling up, doctors might soon be able to incorporate genetic tests in their training, permitting them to well match exact treatments to individuals.

The Molecular Ecologist: I read A Troublesome Inheritance so you don’t have to

The Molecular Ecologist: I read A Troublesome Inheritance so you don’t have to

World Map - Abstract Acrylic
Image by Lara Mukahirn.

Over at The Molecular Ecologist I’ve done an in-depth review of the population genetics data cited by Nicholas Wade in his book A Troublesome Inheritance, which argues that social, cultural, and economic differences between human populations are all in our genes. Digging into the book’s endnotes, it didn’t take me long to find discrepancies between Wade’s description of basic population genetic results and the actual, um, results.

First and foremost, Wade claims that when population geneticists apply a class of statistical methods called clustering algorithms to datasets containing hundreds or thousands of genetic markers, they objectively identify five geographic groups that he calls “continental races”—differentiating African, European/Middle Eastern/South Asian, East Asian, Oceanian, and American people. What he does not make particularly clear is that while clustering methods do group genetic samples without direct instructions, the algorithms do not decide how many clusters there are. The geneticists using them do.

To make me feel somewhat better for having paid actual money to read this book, go read my whole review.◼
Source: Wayback Feed

The Molecular Ecologist: More functions, stronger selection?

The Molecular Ecologist: More functions, stronger selection?

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

Photo by James Case.

Over at The Molecular Ecologist I’m discussing a new paper in the journal Genetics, which demonstrates that selection acts more strongly on genes that affect multiple traits:

Genes that have roles in multiple traits—pleiotropic genes—have long been thought to be under stronger selection as a result of those multiple functions. The basic logic is that, when a gene produces a protein that has a lot of different functional roles, there are more functions that will be disrupted by changes to that protein. Which would be more inconvenient: if your smartphone suddenly needed a new type of power connector, or if every electrical outlet in your house suddenly accepted only plugs with four prongs?

A team at the University of Queensland tested this idea using a lot of fruit flies and some cleverly applied gene expression resources. To find out how it all worked, go read the whole post, and check out the original paper.◼
Source: Wayback Feed

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Searching for Ronald Fisher

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Searching for Ronald Fisher

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Geneticist Ronald A. Fisher. Photo via WikiMedia Commons.

This week at the collaborative science blog Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!, my lab-mate John Stanton-Geddes writes about the current state of evolutionary genetics, as presented at the recent Evolution meetings in Ottawa:

One theme that emerged through the meeting was “The genetic basis for [insert trait here]. While this goal of mapping phenotype to genotype has been a primary goal of many evolutionary ecologists since the first QTL mapping studies, it has recently come under strong criticism, notably in a fantastic paper by Matthew Rockman in the journal Evolution last year, but also by Pritchard and Di Rienzo 2010 and in a forthcoming article by Ruth Shaw (full disclosure: Ruth was my PhD advisor) and Mike Travisano.

Readers of Denim and Tweed will recognize that John’s complaint about our ongoing fixation (ha!) on individual genes of large effect mirrors some of my own recent thinking. So naturally, I think you should go read the whole thing.◼


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