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When certain genes are defective, they may cause diseases which may be mild or serious; these are genetic disorders.
In dominant genetic diseases, a single allele (of the pair) is sufficient for the disease to appear.
The only pair of chromosomes which do not contain the exact same types of information are the sex chromosomes. Some genetic diseases are caused by defects in genes found in the mitochondrial DNA; they are transmitted only via the ovum of the mother.


Note: Many diseases which are not totally genetic in origin may be due to a genetic predisposition in combination with environmental factors. Your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor can discuss these options in greater detail. If both parents are carriers of the defective gene (in this case they are called healthy carriers, because they do not have the disease themselves), their children have a 1 in 4 chance of inheriting the disease. The mitochondrion is a small organelle in the interior of the cell which transforms energy from the exterior which the cell can use a little like a miniature nuclear reactor.


The genetic mutation is then one of several risk factors; one can be a carrier of the gene but never develop the disease and vice versa. In this example, if only one parent carries the defective gene, the children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting it.



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