why is it that certain diseases target only a specific ethnic group? African- Americans suffer from sickle cell anemia, caucasian-americans suffer from cystic-fibrosis,Greeks and Italians suffer from Thalassemia,and those of Jewish decent,suffer from Tay-Sachs disease. Are these diseases limited only to these certain groups?
Jul 9, '99
Okay, I'm going to give this a shot
I believe that the reason that some of the diseases occur in certian ethnic groups has to do with that group's gene pool. Many people have children with people from their own ethnic group. The faulty genes are in that particular pool. For example sicle cell disease developed in native Africans because it made them resistant to malaria (I think that was the disease). Therefore, that disease would have been origonally only carried by people with African decent. The gene is dominant, so if a carrier marries a noncarrier (AA or not) they have a 50% likelyhood of having children who are carriers. In order to produce a child with the disorder you must have either two carriers or or one carrier and one victim. It is not that it is impossible for a child of another race (that has African American ancestors) to get the disease, it is just much less likely because African Americans are more likely to carry the disease. I hope this makes some sense!
Jul 10, '99
Correction...the gene is recessive that is why you need a combination of either two carriers or a carrier and a victim to have the disease. However, a victim and a non-carrier will have children who are all carriers. A carrier and a non-carrier have a 50% possiblity of having children who carry the trait.