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Living With Her Genes

Early Onset Familial Alzheimer's Disease


Author(s)

Lynne H. Gildensoph
Biology Department
St. Catherine University
lhgildensoph@stkate.edu
Alice M. Stanford
Division of Science and Mathematics
University of the Virgin Islands
astanfo@uvi.edu
Deborah D. Wygal
Biology Department
St. Catherine University
ddwygal@stkate.edu

Abstract

When a 30-year-old genetic counselor learns that her 38-year-old sister has developed early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (EOFAD), a dominantly inherited disorder that led to their father's death at age 42, she struggles with whether to undergo genetic testing and whether to have children. This interrupted case study examines the impact of genetic testing on people and their families when there is no treatment or cure for a disease. It covers principles of Mendelian inheritance as well as genetic and reproductive technologies ,such as gene tests, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and in vitro fertilization. It can be used in introductory biology courses for both majors and non-majors or adapted for more advanced courses in genetics and molecular biology.


Objectives

  • Understand what a hereditary disease is and how it is passed from parents to offspring.
  • Know what DNA is and how genes and the proteins they encode determine phenotype.
  • Understand how genetic testing is done and the variety of forms it can take.
  • Understand the role of reproductive technology in pre-natal genetic testing.
  • Understand that science and medicine do not take place in a vacuum.

Keywords

Alzheimer's; neurodegenerative disease; early onset; DNA; allele; APP gene; autosomal dominant; meiosis; genetic counselor; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis; PGD; in vitro fertilization; IVF; Human Genome Project; bioethics

Topical Areas

Ethics, Social issues

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Interrupted, Jig-Saw

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Molecular Biology  |   Genetics / Heredity  |  


Date Posted

08/19/08

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