Genetics Overview

Genes and Environmental Disorders

Most disorders in this category are infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV. While a person cannot have the disease without exposure to the infectious organism, genetics does play a role in who will become sick and how ill they will become. For example, some people are fortunate to have inherited a genetic variation that makes them immune to HIV infection. The genetic variation alters their white blood cells enough to keep the virus out. The virus needs the white blood cell to reproduce itself. Studying the role genes play in infectious disease may provide scientists with clues as how to treat or prevent them.