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26 June 2012

Proudly Irish Should Know about Tay-Sachs Disease Gene Screening

A Wall Street Journal article, "New Study Looks at Irish Risk for Tay-Sachs Disease" highlights the risks of children being born with the always fatal disease when both parents have Irish heritage. The odds are astoundingly high.  About one in three hundred (1:300) persons in the "general population" carry the faulty gene which can lead to Tay-Sachs, which is already pretty high.  The odds for Eastern European Jews are 1:30.  The odds for those of Irish descent is thought to be 1:50.  Both parents must be carriers and then, there's a 1:4 (yes, that's one in four or 25%) chance that a baby born to them will have Tay-Sachs.  That is a mind-boggling probability.  In this global and diverse world of life, love and procreation, what are the odds when someone is one quarter Irish? Or, when one would-be parent is "Irish" and the other, "Jewish?"  What a blessing our grandchildren have beat those odds.  We have nieces who are 3/4 Irish.  I feel as if I could still feel the flight of the bullet whizzing by.  Pass the word.  You Proud Irish, think about getting tested.

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