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Question About How Genetics Of celiac disease Work
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I have celiac disease, my mom has it, and both of my children have it.  My brother, however, tested negative.  His wife is now due any moment with their first child and they are wondering if she will need to avoid gluten while breastfeeding even though my brother does not have the disease.  They are concerned that the baby might have celiac disease, but neither of them wants to have my sister-in-law have to avoid gluten if it's unnecessary.

 

I'm not sure how the genetics of celiac disease work so I thought I'd ask the knowledgable people here.  Can a child have celiac disease if both parents don't?  Thanks so much!

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Ah, well.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendelian_inheritance

 

Those are the basic laws of genetic inheritance.

 

To answer the question:

 

Yes, a child can get it if both parents do not have it (if they are carriers of the genes). Please remember that about 30% of the population (i believe in the US) carry the genes, but do not have celiac. So just because a child is related to a person who has it, for example, does not mean the child will develop it. However, it is something to keep an eye on to be on the safe side.

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Also, even if your future niece/nephew does end up developing Celiac, it may not kick in until they're older, so not sure if a non-Celiac mother eating gluten while breastfeeding would really be a problem (but don't quote me on that). It would be a good idea for them to get him/her tested periodically when they're old enough and watch out for symptoms.

 

As for the genetics, there's Celiac on BOTH sides of my family. My mom and 2 of her siblings have it. We don't know if my father had it (he passed away many years ago) but 2 of his siblings have it, so that means he would likely have been a genetic carrier.

And for some reason (maybe cause 2 positives sometimes make a negative) my sister and I both came back negative on our blood tests, but there was definitely damage on her biopsy, and even though I went gluten-free before I got a biopsy done (and will never ever ever go back), I consider myself Celiac cause, really, genetically I'm screwed.

 

Some of my cousins (mostly children of aunt/uncle with celiac) have gone gluten-free as well, though I'm not sure how many actually have Celiac or are just gluten intolerant. But considering the size of my parents' families, there are more of us who don't have problems than those who do.

 

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that the baby may or may not have the genes, and if they do, they may or may not develop Celiac.

 

Hope someone else has more info

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Thank you for your replies!  My sister-in-law would rather not go gluten free while she's breastfeeding, and it sounds like she really doesn't have to.  I appreciate the help!

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If their LO shows signs of being celiac once he/she is here, then she well might have to go gluten free (gluten can pass through breastmilk, and if baby has it, it can manifest as failure-to-thrive, rashes, or just an unhappy and colicky baby).  But even if baby has the genes, he/she may not have it triggered every, or for a long time.  So, she probably shouldn't expect to need to be gluten free unless signs point otherwise in baby.

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