A medical breakthrough of the past few years is the discovery that having only one gene for a deadly disease can protect a person from other illnesses, which is why these diseases, like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, persist in the human population. This realization came about when it was discovered that sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition that only exists among black people, offers protection from malaria, if the person only inherits one of the genes. Something similar has now been discovered for Alzheimer’s disease.
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African-Americans are searching for their roots. However, the researchers have found that only one in 10 African Americans may be able to find clues about their ancestral origins if mitochondrial DNA is tested. Mitochondrial DNA is the portion of the body’s genetic code that is inherited from the mother. In recent years, mitochondrial DNA has become a popular way for tracing maternal ancestry and often is used by companies hired by African Americans to help them trace their ancestry in Africa.
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Everyone wants to learn about their roots, which is why so many African-Americans are having their DNA tested. But we don’t just inherit our looks and perhaps our personalities?our susceptibility to disease is also inherited, and if we can find out what genes we have, we can deal with these problems before they get too serious.

University of Wisconsin researchers say that you will be able to receive information about your family’s genetic history within three years for less than $100. In the Indepdendent, Jane Feinmann quotes US Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona as advising us to use family reunions, such as Thanksgiving dinner, as an chance “to trace illnesses suffered by parents and other blood relatives.” There?s even a web site to help you do this.
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Why do some people seem so calm, even though they may really be frightened, while others fidget constantly, whether they are nervous or not? Some brains may be wired to encourage fidgeting and other restless behaviors, and fidgeting isn’t all bad?it uses up calories and helps control your weight.
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