Cystic fibrosis among Caucasian Children

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Image from the American Lung Association:

After the mapping of the human genome in the Human Genome Project, scientists found that race and genetics have no association, meaning that no gene exists that determines race. Interestingly, this means that no sure scientific test exists to identify a person’s race—information on racial identities is obtained through self-identification. Genetics have somewhat of a determination on health. As discussed in the portion of the lecture on the Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis, a genetic mutation attributed to early U.S. Prima Indians was passed on through genetic drift to modern U.S. Prima populations. Due to a change in the environment, the gene that manifested into the trait of storing fat during famine (and was an evolutionary advantage that was selected for) morphed into an evolutionary disadvantage as today famine is less widespread and fat storage encourages obesity and type II diabetes. As for race and health, certain diseases are more prevalent among some races, as seen in scientific studies across the board, for example, sickle cell anemia in Africans and African Americans. However, race might serve as a false attribution rather than a real reason for the disease prevalence.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the defective cystic fibrosis gene. As a recessive gene, in order to develop cystic fibrosis, a child must inherit one gene from each parent (American Lung Association 41). Between 1999 and 2006, 3,355 out of 3,708 that died from cystic fibrosis were Caucasian. As mentioned, the disorder is prevalent in the Caucasian population due to a genetic mutation. Children with cystic fibrosis usually exhibit symptoms within their first years of life. While there is not a cure for cystic fibrosis yet, common treatments include airway clearance techniques and medications to clear mucus from the lungs, in addition to proper nutrition.

The American Lung Association. “Cystic Fibrosis.” State of Lung Disease in Diverse Communities 2010. 2010 Accessed July 9, 2014.

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