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Genetic Predisposition

 Reviewed 16 November 2018 share-a-picture Or go to discussion?join-the-discussion dogphoto

Note that truly inherited defects are much rarer than commonly perceived and reported: Genetic predisposition is much less likely to be the cause of any sickness you or your dog may experience in your lifetime.

This is because:

  • Most DNA changes are acquired during lifetime and not heritable: all cells are subject to mutations, all the time, and the likelihood of acquiring any of an unlimited number of possible defects is of course higher than the likelihood of repair of an existing defect.
  • Over the millions of years evolution has developed a significant arsenal of safeguards that work to:
    1. prevent that an acquired mutation is passed on to offspring
    2. deactivate defective genes that nonetheless made it to be passed on to offspring
    3. activate other genes that compensate for some or all of the effect caused by defective genes that could not be deactivated.

This is why even an inherited gene abnormality (mutation) results in an inherited defect in only some individuals.

To be truly inherited the defect must be caused by a genetic mutation that results in the particular defect in every organism with that mutation (dog or person).

Else the observed condition is merely triggered by the mutation.

take-thought Because otherwise every condition (defect and disorder and disease!) would have to be considered an inherited condition, because the genetic code with any and all its mutations is a trigger for everything, including that we breathe!

A truly inherited defect requires an inherited DNA change: a mutation existing in the genetic code at conception.

This is important to keep in mind because radiation, some chemical substances (in medication, "food", household, or environment), and some pathogens are known to cause an acquired mutation in the genetic code that results in a defect.

Such acquired defects are not heritable.

In other words, genetic predisposition may help trigger the outbreak of countless conditions but if you avoid causing the outbreak then you or your dog will never experience the condition in your lifetime that you worry about.

Indeed, understanding cause vs symptom vs trigger is vital.



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