What is a Jewish Genetic Disease?

Ethnic groups around the world are known to have an increased risk of particular genetic diseases. Likewise, Jewish individuals of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) background have a higher risk than others of certain diseases and Jewish individuals of Northern Africa, Spain, Portugal and the Middle East (Sephardic) background have a higher risk than others of different diseases. Non-Jews and Jews by Choice are also at risk for being carriers of genetic diseases.

Most of these are due to autosomal recessive inheritance. There are additional genetic disorders which have a higher frequency in the Jewish population and are related to dominant disease predisposition genes such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are associated with an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Genetic testing is available to determine carrier status.

These disorders include diseases that are fatal in childhood and others associated with chronic debility and premature death in adulthood. There are no curative treatments for these disorders.

With carrier screening and genetic counseling, these diseases are preventable.


Jewish Genetic Diseases Carrier Rate, Detection Rate and Description (Click Here For List of Diseases)