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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Twins

01/30/2008

Question:

I know that it must be a long list but can you tell what health problems that if one identical twin has the other twin will have or will get. What diseases has to do with genes?

Answer:

Identical twins, also called monozygotic twins, have the same genetic make-up. Thus, if one identical twin has a genetic disorder there is a very high chance that the other twin will also have the disorder, although it is not 100%. Occasionally, monozygotic twins (identical) are discordant for a genetic problem - that is, one twin has it and the other does not. You would need to know what the problem or disease is to find out how high the chance might be that both twins will be affected.

Almost all diseases have a genetic basis. Almost all common diseases all have a genetic component, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancers. The list is very long.

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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