Friday, May 9, 2014

No Armadillos

I couldn't even guess how many hours I've spent looking at the 4th chromosome (Matthew's duplicated chromosome) and its associated genes. 

My most unusual finding is that there is a gene in the area of the chromosome of Matthew's duplication that makes someone more susceptible to leprosy.  And after digging further, I found out that armadillos carry the bacteria that causes leprosy.  So, no touching, playing with or eating armadillos for Matthew. 

I spent hours looking at that chromosome and those genes in an attempt to understand any potential risks and/or areas of concern for Matthew and his future.  Then, I read a news article a few weeks ago reporting research on a set of identical twins, one with Down Syndrome (duplication of chromosome 21) and it blows away my assumption that I only need to worry about Matthew's 4th chromosome with the associated genes.  The key findings that really shook my thinking: "Researchers have presumed for decades that Down syndrome is mainly caused by the overabundance of effects of chromosome 21 genes. The findings, published today in the journal Nature, show that a third copy of chromosome 21 disturbs the expression of all DNA in the genome."

So, I spent hours pouring over the 4th chromosome and the genes, and going down the bunny hole to figure out how to best mitigate the effects for Matthew (like no armadillos), but this study indicates that time was likely for naught for it isn't just the 4th chromosome and those genes I need to be concerned about, it is every chromosome and every gene. 

I had deluded myself that I had a modicum of control-- and I really don't. 

We still won't be getting friendly with armadillos any time soon.

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