It's All in the Family
Posted by: Barbara Bibel
I recently attended the annual conference of the Medical Library Association in Seattle. Yes, it rained, but the conference was excellent. I took a continuing education class called "The ABCs of DNA" to learn about resources for genetics. This is a difficult subject for the uninitiated as well as a frequent topic for patrons at the reference desk. With the human genome and stem cells in the news, people want to understand how it all works.Genetic diseases are a common homework assignment and people concerned about diseases in their families need information that they can understand.
Once again, the National Library of Medicine has produced an outstanding resource to explain it. The Genetics Home Reference at ghr.nlm.nih.gov offers a wealth of information. It covers over 700 health conditions, diseases and syndromes, 950 genes, and everything that you want to know about chromosomes. It also has a handbook of basic genetics, a glossary of terms, and a resource list with links to organizations and genetics information. It explains genetic counseling and has links to directories of laboratories performing genetic tests and genetic counselors.
With home gene tests now available and producing variable results, finding accurate tests and support to understand the results is crucial. Whether one is trying to establish a family relationship, determining the probability of developing a disease, or trying to understand the intricacies of mitochondrial DNA, Genetics Home Reference will help make an informed decision.