|MadSci Network: Genetics|
Dear Wendy, Ectodermal dysplasia is most likely passed on by means of an autosomal recessive gene. This means that in order for a child to get the disease, both parents must have at least one of the genes for the disease. The gene mutation that causes ectodermal dysplasia resides on chromosome 7p11.2-q21.3, which means it is on chromosome number 7. The other numbers indicate where on the chromosome the mutations are located. In theory, the prospective father of the child whose prospective mother has ectodermal dysplasia could be tested for the gene mutation, but in reality there are 135 types of ectodermal dysplasia, which would make this testing very complicated and involved. The best thing to do would be to try to find a website where you can keep track of the latest genetic research on ectodermal dysplasia, so if the testing becomes available, you can take advantage of it. Most academic hospitals have doctors that specialize in genetics, and if you got in touch with one of these doctors, he or she could notify you when testing becomes available, and could also tell you your risk of having a baby with ectodermal dysplasia. The good news is that ectodermal dysplasia is very rare, so it is highly unlikely that your child will have ectodermal dysplasia as well. If the father of the baby is related in some way to the mother, this chance would be somewhat higher. If ectodermal dysplasia was a dominant gene, then you would have 50% chance of having a baby with ectodermal dysplasia, even without a father with a gene, but luckily it is recessive. I hope I have eased your mind somewhat. Thank you for your question. Sincerely, Sarah Mason, Mad Scientist
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Genetics.