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All About Genetics

Understanding Genes and Genetics

Genetics is the study of how different qualities, called traits, are passed down from biological parents to child. Genes are the instructions for life as we know it. They affect your development before you're even born and play a role in everything from your appearance to your personality. Genes contain information about your heritage and your risk for certain diseases. Understanding your genes is part of understanding yourself, and you can use information about genetics to make decisions in your daily life.

Whether you’re interested in learning about your own health or understanding a loved one’s condition, you will find everything that that you need here. You can start by learning about the importance of your own family health history or jump to learning about inheritance patterns. Our information is here for you – for wherever you are in your genetics journey!

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Just The Facts

Family members share genes, habits, lifestyles, and surroundings.

A Little More Detail

Genetics helps explain what makes you unique, why family members look alike, and why some diseases run in families.

A Lot More Detail

Many conditions are caused by one or more genes that do not work correctly in the body.


The National Genetics Education and Family Support Center (Family Center) provides tools and resources to support family engagement and genetic services.

Contact info

4301 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 404 Washington, DC 20008-2369

[email protected]