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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is crohns disease genetic?

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    For more than 25 years, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia™ (formerly the Australian Crohn’s and Colitis Association) has been making life more liveable for more than … View Profile

    Research has revealed a lot of evidence pointing to a genetic component, which may make certain groups of people predisposed to developing Crohn’s or IBD.  However unlike other illnesses that have a direct link of inheritance, the genetics of IBD is a lot more complicated.

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    Prof. Andrew Day

    Paediatrician

    Paediatric Gastroenterologist View Profile

    A large number of genes are now shown to be important in IBD: many are relevant to Crohn disease and some relevant to ulcerative colitis (and some to both). Some genes are more important in european populations than in other groups, such as Japanese people.

    Many of these genes control aspects of how the lining of the bowel defends itself.


    The relationships between genes and the development of IBD is very complicated. Whereas some diseases (such as Cystic Fibrosis) can have one gene involved leading to the specific disease, this is not the case in IBD. Although the genes are likely important for many people, there are various other factors as well.

    At present it is not feasible or helpful to consider genetic testing for individual patients: in the future there may be a time when this is feasible and helpful.

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