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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Does albinism run in families?

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  • The Albinism Fellowship of Australia (AFA) is a national, non-profit organization established in 2005. The AFA is a registered charity. The fellowship is run by ... View Profile

    With Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) affecting eyes and skin, you only show the condition if you have two copies of the abnormal gene. Therefore, most people with this condition will not have a relative in a previous generation with the condition because it is “recessive”. For two parents who each have a copy of an albinism gene, there is a one in four chance that their children will have albinism.

    All people with OCA will pass on an albinism gene to their offspring, but those offspring will usually not have the condition because they only have one copy of the gene.

    Ocular albinism is carried via the X chromosone (gender chromosone). It is much more common in males because they only need to have one copy of the abnormal gene to have the condition. A male with OA will pass on the gene to his or her female off springs who will then be a carrier and should they have a male sone in the future, that child will have a one in two chance of having OA.

    So the answer is “yes” that albinism runs in families, but it is often hidden and can show up as quite a surprise.

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