Skip Navigation Bar
NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Feature:
Genetics 101

Using the Genetics Home Reference Website

Genetics Home Reference Website

The opening welcome page for the Genetics Home Reference website—"Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions"

The Genetics Home Reference (GHR) website—ghr.nlm.nih.gov—is a free, trustworthy, patient-friendly guide to the science of genetics. The site has topics on genetic conditions and related genes, and an illustrated tutorial that explains the basics of genetics and a glossary of genetics terms. Summaries are written in lay language by Library staff, and each is reviewed by an expert in human genetics before being posted to GHR and again with each substantive update.

In April, the GHR celebrated its 10th anniversary since being launched on April 25, 2003. GHR currently offers more than 2,000 total summaries of genetic information, comprising more than 850 genetic conditions, more than 1,060 genes, about 80 gene families, and all 24 human chromosomes, plus mitochondrial DNA. About 650 genetics experts worldwide have reviewed this information. The "Help Me Understand Genetics" section has expanded to more than 70 pages and several dozen illustrations in nine chapters. New information is added regularly as the GHR website keeps growing.

What Is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling provides information and support to people who have, or may be at risk for, genetic disorders. A genetics professional meets with you to discuss genetic risks. You may follow up with genetic testing. There are many reasons to seek genetic counseling. You may consider it if you:

  • Have or are concerned you have an inherited disorder
  • Are pregnant or planning to be pregnant after age 35
  • Already have a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect
  • Have had two or more pregnancy losses or a baby who died
  • Have had ultrasound or screening tests that suggest a possible problem

Several resources for locating a genetics professional in your community are available online:

To Find Out More

Summer 2013 Issue: Volume 8 Number 2 Page 14