Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Da Family

In recent times I've been watching a few of the BBC series 'Who do you think you are?'. To be honest I've been watching a lot of the old episodes and therefore been playing catch up. Watching the likes of Stephen Fry, David Tennant and Jeremy Clarkson discover about their family has made me wonder about mine. Not only have I wondered about the history within the family, but I've also considered the genetic history within the family. As some of you may or may not know, CF is a genetic condition. The gene is recessive, therefore individuals can carry the gene with no affects. It is only when two individuals that carry the gene decide to have offspring that there is a 1 in 4 chance that their child could inherit both copies of the gene. If a person has two copies of a CF gene, then they have CF. So my thought regarding my family tree are, where did my copies of the CF gene come from?

I have the most common CF gene, Delta F508. I know what gene I have, so if given DNA tests I could confirm which grandparents my CF gene came from. Whilst it may be possible to identify whether my mothers, mother carries the gene, identifying the gene in my other grandparents may not be so simple. Sadly all my other grandparents are deceased. Whilst digging them up might have been an option, it is one I doubt my family would have accepted, even in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and understanding, something I'm sure my Grandparents would approve of. All my Grandparents have been cremated, so I can keep the spade in the shed for now and I can also avoid prosecution for desecrating a grave.

So I'm now wondering whether second cousins carry the gene. Trouble is, many people only get tested to see if they carry CF if they are planning on having children. At present not all my relatives are thinking of having kids, some are still teenagers, so I can forgive them for not trying. I don't think it would be morally responsible for me to encourage them to have sex or to get pregnant. I don't want to be known as the perverted relative who promotes underage sex.

Anyway, this family tree and the origins of my CF gene are something I want to explore more. Where, if anywhere, my intrigue leads me, who knows?

On a separate, more daily issue, I'm off to hospital today. Had a couple of mini 'CF do's' in the last few weeks. I will explain what a 'CF do' is in my next post. To be honest, there is no real definition, neither in terms of my episode or in terms of a 'CF do'. I'll explain more next time.

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