This section is dedicated to providing information for families and participants of our research studies.
Genes, Genetics, and Health
Almost every cell in a person's body contains a chemical called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA is like a big instruction book that tells your body how to grow, develop, and function. Each set of instructions in DNA is organized into a gene. There are about 20,000 genes in humans. Genes are further organized into chromosomes, and each person has 46 chromosomes. Half of an individual's chromosomes are inherited from the mother and the other half of the chromosomes from the father.
Sometimes, changes or mutations occur when a copy of a gene is transmitted from a parent to a child. These mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or there can be no effect. Harmful mutations can, under some circumstances, influence susceptibility to conditions like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, asthma, and birth defects. The Bamshad lab tries to identify such mutations.