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Mendellian Genetics

Anemia is a genetic disorder that causes pale skin, lack of growth, malaise, lethargy, and gastrointestinal distress. Most common treatments, like a high iron diet, does not alleviate the symptoms as they normally would. It is usually detected by a CBC, or a blood count.


In the example above, the Hb, MCV,  and WBC are off the normal count, showing signs of Cooley’s or Erythroblastic anemia. Nuclei is normally not found in red blood cells to allow more hemoglobin, the proteins that carry oxygen. In mild cases, few blood cells contain nuclei, but does not greatly affect the body. Should one carry both damaged copies of the gene, a more sever case of anemia is shown.

Often, parents of a child with severe anemia case will be tested to truly see if it was genetic. Couples who are carriers of the defect have a 25% chance of passing it to their child. They may choose to have another baby if they can afford the chance of another anemic child, or refrain from having more kids. In recent history, however, new technology allows the mother and father to select specific traits for the embryo, and to avoid the disease altogether.

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