What is a risk factor for disease?

A risk factor is a biological trait or something in a person’s environment that increases the likelihood of developing a specific disease. As a general rule, diseases develop under the influence of a combination of risk factors, the number of which is on the rise. In the 1960s, there were about 1,000 known risk factors, […]

What is a common/multifactorial disease?

Multifactorial diseases are common conditions (i.e., hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes) that are caused by multiple factors, including genes and external factors, like the environment, diet and lifestyle. Such diseases are the result of interaction between multiple genetic and external factors that lead to a family predisposition to the disease, without a clear Mendelian […]

What is a hereditary condition?

Hereditary conditions are caused by mutations or the absence (i.e., deletion) of a gene. Mutations can occur in one or two copies of genes, one of which came from the father and the other from the mother. When this happens, a hereditary condition occurs. However, just because there is a mutation, it does not mean […]

What are SNPs?

SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), a DNA sequence variation of one nucleotide (A, T, G or C) that differs in the genome of representatives of the same species or between paired chromosomes. For example, if two DNA sequences – AAGCCTA and AAGCTTA – differ by a single nucleotide, then there are two alleles: […]

What is a genome?

The human genome is a collection of hereditary material made up of 20,000 to 25,000 genes. The human genome consists of mitochondrial DNA and 23 pairs of chromosomes present in the nucleus.

What is RNA?

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is one of the three basic macromolecules that are contained in the cells of all living organisms. It is composed of a long chain, each link of which is called a nucleotide. During transcription (in the cell nucleus), nRNA chains are formed that ‘mirror’ an exact part of DNA, allowing the further […]

What is DNA?

DNA, also known as DeoxyriboNucleic Acid, is contained within each of trillions cells in your body. It serves as a blueprint that determines the physical features of all living things, including you! It looks like a twisted ladder or, as scientists call it, a ‘double helix’. This genetic information was passed on from your parents, […]

What is a gene?

A gene is a distinct segment of DNA that encodes protein molecules. Genes are responsible for the structure of proteins in the body. A person’s genotype is composed of all the body’s genes that together contain all the information and individual characteristics of the organism.