My father suffered from Ankylosing Spondalitis. My sister's son also has AS. I have not got the gene HLA-B27. Does that mean that my children cannot inherit the gene? Also, can it skip a generation? This might be a silly question but it worries me that my grandsons might be at risk.
Ankylosing spondylitis is most likely a multifactorial condition, which means that it involves a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors.
Having one copy of the HLA-B27 variant (of the HLA-B gene) causes an increased risk to develop ankylosing spondylitis; however, most people with this variant do not develop any symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis even when inherited from an affected parent.
We all have two copies of the HLA-B gene - we inherit one copy from each parent. As such, the chance for your children to have inherited the HLA-B27 variant is based not only on your genetic status but their father's genetic status as well.
Thank you for your reply. I understand the multifactorial thing, as my Father's lifestyle and environment had a big bearing on his condition.
I still do not understand what you mean by 'the father's genetic status'. Do you mean that the father needs to have a blood test for HLA-B27? Do both parents have to have it before their children are likely to inherit it? So if neither my husband nor I have HLA-B27
then our children cannot inherit it? And that is as far as the gene can go in my family?
Having one copy of the HLA-B27 variant is sufficient to increase the risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis. However, we all have two copies of the HLA-B gene, one from our mother and the other from our father. As such, both parents (mom and dad) would need to be negative for the HLA-B27 variant in order for their children to have no chance of inheriting it. If one parent, mom or dad, has the variant, each child they have has a 50% chance of inheriting the variant.
Your grandchildren's risk would be based on your children's HLA-B27 "genetic status" (if they have the variant or not) as well as their spouse's.
You may benefit from meeting with a genetic counselor, who can review your family history and test results as well as discuss the benefits and limitations of HLA-B27 testing for your husband. You can find a genetic counselor in your area at the National Society of Genetic Counselors website or through companies like mine, AccessDNA.
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