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GENETIC DISCOVERY

whatsapp-image-2016-09-21-at-11-51-48-pmAn organization of Pakistani researchers has discovered some 30 genes causing mental slow-down in an internal population, which will enable us to take precautionary measures to avoid intellectual disabilities in future generations. The custom of marrying only within the limits of a family, local community, clan, or tribe in Pakistan has led to an increase in genetic disorders.

This research has been conducted by a group of 12 professors from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU) of Islamabad in partnership with scientists from Netherlands and US. The groundbreaking investigation was announced by Pakistani scientists on Tuesday. The paper has already been published in Nature’s Molecular Psychiatry – a prestigious general biography with an impact means of 13.3.

The vice chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), during a press conference on the report, said that 5 million people in Pakistan suffer from intellectual disabilities, a much higher ratio than in developed countries. Although these genes can become active in any child, the risk is eight to 10 times higher in the case of marriages between first cousins.

“This is a landmark find for Pakistan as mental slow-down is partially high in a nation overdue to cousin marriages,” pronounced SZABMU Vice-Chancellor Dr Javed Akram. Now that we have a scientific study, the government should introduce legislation that couples should be screened to prevent genetic diseases affecting their children. Screenings can identify conditions that could affect a baby’s long term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis and intervention can prevent death or disability, and allow children to reach their full potential.

After marriage, couples should consult doctors before planning to have children. The Sindh assembly passed that sort of law last year, but there is need for legislation at the centre because that is the only way the law will be implemented.

The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has already purebred some 3,000 such families from interior Sindh and South Punjab carrying such genes.

By : SARRAH KHOZEMA

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