genetics

 
Baby has G6PD deficiency. He’s well, but mom has lots of questions about what medications he should avoid. Can she look on the Internet? (I love being asked whether it’s a good idea to consult the internet, rather than being told what Dr Google has to say). I ask big sister if she knows that girls don’t have G6PD. Mom is fascinated — apparently dad is convinced he’s the one that passed it along to baby. So I launch into a discussion of X linked inheritance, and she asks me to write it out for her to share with dad. OK — mom is a carrier, her sons can have the disease and her daughters can be carriers. If dad has the disease his daughters can be carriers, but he can’t pass it along to his sons. Mom files away this matrix that I’ve written out for her, and she has a new level of understanding of her son’s condition. One more question — should he avoid bush tea? I can’t imagine that anyone has tested the myriad plant alkaloids found in the various bush teas to determine if they induce hemolysis in G6PD… though the natural experiment has probably been done somewhere along the way, given that 10% of the male population of African descent has this condition. So the answer is, no bush tea (I think that’s always the answer no matter what). Do they eat fava beans in Jamaica?

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