Fragile Bones? Your Genes Might Be The Reason


Sameer and Raghav met with a small accident during their office picnic at a hill-station. They fell from a same height. Both are almost of similar age. Sameer is a well-built guy, while Raghav is lean and lanky. However, Raghav got just a few bruises and swollen leg, Sameer got a fracture on his arm. How? This is also commonly observed amongst children. Some get a fracture while some just get bruised while playing. The reason behind this can be your genetic make-up.

Genetics and bone health

A new study by researchers at Montreal’s McGill University discovered a rare genetic variant that impacts largely on bone mineral density and the disposition of some people to fracture bones more easily than others. This study tries to identify the rare variants that have a strong influence on common traits and diseases. Upto 75 % of the total genetic effect on bone density depends on a single gene. Compared to the West, the patients of low bone health in India are almost 10 years younger and the number is growing continuously.

In many physical conditions, genes play a crucial role in heritability, i.e. the variation of a condition due to genetics. In case of bone mineral density, it is about 85 percent.

The approach taken in this study included exome sequencing, whole genome sequencing, and genotypic data to find rare and non-coding genetic variants. It allowed them to find a rare non-coding variant that had a four times more effect on bone mineral density than the average effect of all other variants. Thus, it suggests that the gene has an important functional role in bone development.

Image credits - primarycareofappleton.com
Image credits – primarycareofappleton.com

Brittle Bone Disease

Brittle Bone disease is a disorder that results in fragile bones. Our bones are made of a mineral and protein, filled with bone cells. Bone is continually broken down and replaced. When the rate of bone loss is more than the rate of replacement, bones become weak, eventually leading to increased risk of fracture. It is present since birth in individuals who have a family history of the disease. Bone density is a medical term which refers to the amount of mineral matter per square centimeter of bones. This disease affects around 6 to 7 per 100,000 people around the globe. In India, occurrence of this disorder is more common amongst women.

Personal Genome Analysis

Our genes have 30% influence on our bone health. Along with our genes, bone health depends on many other factors such as age, diet, and proper exercise. Poor sunlight exposure, overuse of sun blocks, low calcium intake are some causes for lack of Vitamin D. Datar Genetics Limited offers Personal Genome Analysis- a test with many other parameters, analyses your bone density, and your bone health.

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