This Week In Genetics


Having twins – it’s in your genes. Sort of.

Having fraternal twins has long been known to run in families, but researchers have recently discovered two genes that may increase your odds of having twins. One gene affects follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels while the other may alter how the ovaries respond to FSH. Of note, the second of these genes may be a first step to understanding why some women respond better than others to in vitro fertilization.

World’s largest study on autism and genes

A new project will bring together researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine, and over 20 other institutions to study genes that may play a role in autism. Scientists have identified 50 to 70 genes with links to autism but suspect that number to be much higher. As part of the study, the researchers plan to gather DNA from 50,000 individuals and families affected by autism.

The latest on CRISPR

Earlier this month, the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy met to discuss recent strides in gene therapy. The gene editing technology CRISPR is expected to make major contributions to the treatment of genetic disorders in ways more efficient than traditional gene therapy. Though many still believe in its endless possibilities, some serious limitations and potential consequences cannot be ignored. You can read about those, here.

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About Author

Shannon Wieloch

Shannon Wieloch is a licensed board-certified genetic counselor at Recombine. Her primary responsibility is to provide genetic counseling to Recombine patients. She is also the current co-chair of the National Society of Genetic Counselors Prenatal Special Interest Group. Prior to joining Recombine, Shannon worked in cardiac research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and in prenatal genetic counseling at The Delaware Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine. She received a dual B.S. in biology and psychology from The University of Pittsburgh and her M.S. in genetic counseling from Arcadia University. Her passion is to provide comprehensive genetic education to medical professionals, patients and the general public.