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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is Crohn's disease genetic?

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  • Prof. Andrew Day

    Paediatrician

    Paediatric Gastroenterologist View Profile

    There are now more than 100 genes that are linked with increased risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Most of these are for Crohn disease: some for Ulcerative colitis and some for both.

    However, even these genes do not fully explain why people get Crohn disease. Factors in the environment, the bowel bugs (bacteria) and defence actvities in the wall of the bowel are also important.

    At present, although there is much more known about the genes, we are not yet at the situation where people with Crohn disease are routinely assessed for genetic tests. The studies looking at the genes come from large research studies involving large groups of people, and are hard to apply to an individual person..

    In addition, consequent to the importance of the genes in the development of Crohn disease, it can often “run in families”, with more than one person also having IBD as well.

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