– by Ricki Lewis, PhD: Defying Mendelian Genetics and “Embryo Engineering”
Mendel’s laws, like any laws in science, are wonderful because they make predictions possible. A woman and man both carry a recessive mutation in the same gene, and each of their children has a 25% chance of inheriting both mutations and the associated health condition. Bio 101. In contrast to our bizarre new world of “alternate facts,” “multiple interpretations,” and “both are true” scenarios, science is both logical and rational. If an observation seems to counter dogma, then we investigate and get to the truth. That’s what happened for Millie and Hannah, whose stories illustrate two ways that genetic disease can seem to veer from the predictions of Mendel’s first law: that genes segregate, one copy from each parent into sperm and ova, and reunite at fertilization. (I’ll get to embryo engineering at the end.) Millie’s situation is increasingly common – exome or genome sequencing of a child-parent “trio” reveals a new (“de novo”), dominant mutation in the child, causing a disease that
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