Genes are the building blocks of heredity. They are passed from parent to child. They hold DNA, the instructions for making proteins. Proteins do most of the work in cells. They move molecules from one place to another, build structures, break down toxins, and do many other maintenance jobs.

Sometimes there is a mutation, a change in a gene or genes. The mutation changes the gene’s instructions for making a protein, so the protein does not work properly or is missing entirely. This can cause a medical condition called a genetic disorder.

You can inherit a gene mutation from one or both parents. A mutation can also happen during your lifetime.

There are three types of genetic disorders:

  • Single-gene disorders, where a mutation affects one gene. Sickle cell anemia is an example.
  • Chromosomal disorders, where chromosomes (or parts of chromosomes) are missing or changed. Chromosomes are the structures that hold our genes. Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder.
  • Complex disorders, where there are mutations in two or more genes. Often your lifestyle and environment also play a role. Colon cancer is an example.

Genetic tests on blood and other tissue can identify genetic disorders.

NIH: National Library of Medicine

Fibronectin glomerulopathy is a kidney disease that usually develops between early and mid-adulthood but can occur at any age. It eventually leads to irreversible kidney failure (end-stage renal disease).Individuals with fibronectin glomerulopathy usually have blood and excess protein in their urine (hematuria and proteinuria, respectively). They also have high blood pressure (hypertension). Some affected individuals develop renal tubular acidosis, which occurs when the kidneys are unable to remove enough acid from the body and the blood becomes too acidic.The kidneys of people with fibronectin glomerulopathy have large deposits of the protein fibronectin-1 in structures called glomeruli. These structures are clusters of tiny blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste products from blood. The waste products are then released in urine. The fibronectin-1 deposits impair the glomeruli’s filtration ability.Fifteen to 20 years following the appearance of signs and symptoms, individuals with fibronectin glomerulopathy often develop end-stage renal disease. Affected individuals may receive treatment in the form of a kidney transplant; in some cases, fibronectin glomerulopathy comes back (recurs) following transplantation.

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