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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Polydactyly

05/14/2007

Question:

What are the effects of Polydactyly, the treatment and what causes this syndrome. And what does it look like? Is it genetic?

Answer:

Polydactyly means extra fingers and/or extra toes. The extra finger or toe can be just partially formed or fully formed. It can be on either the thumb side (preaxial polydactyly) or the pinky side (postaxial polydactyly).

Having an extra finger or toe can run in families as an autosomal dominant condition - meaning there is a single gene responsible for the trait. It usually causes no problems; however, it usually is removed by surgery.

If there are other birth defects along with the polydactyly, this may be part of a genetic syndrome. The inheritance would depend on what the syndrome is.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University