Clinical genetics, or medical genetics, is the branch of medicine concerned
with how hereditary and genetic factors play a role in causing a disease,
birth defect, or inherited susceptibility to a health problem. Everyone
is at risk for being born with a birth defect. Most birth defects are
not under our control, and they are not caused by an action or inaction
on the parents' part either before or during the pregnancy. Even with
normal prenatal diagnosis through testing like amniocentesis, there is
still a 3 to 4 percent chance that a child will be born with some type
of birth defect or health problem.
The Human Genome Project began in 1990 with the goal of mapping the location
of all of the genes on the chromosomes. This monumental achievement has
given scientists the building blocks to determine how diseases are caused,
how to possibly treat them and, ultimately, how to prevent them.
Research in medical genetics has given us information about the genetic
mechanisms that can result in disease. The goal is to understand how genetics
affects the health of our children.
More about Our Cancer Genetic Counseling Program
More about Clinical Genetics