View Full Version : Finnish Disease heritage

June Pelo
26-01-05, 02:25
There's been an interesting discussion on Finngen about this subject. I'll attach two of the more informative mails:

Merja Syrjämäki, MD:There are not many texts available in the internet in English of the Finnish hereditary diseases ( we call it Suomalainen tautiperintö or Finnish disease heritage ), except scientific texts. I found one that might be of interest also to an average genealogist with no medical background. See http://hmg.oupjournals.org/cgi/content/full/8/10/1913 The first couple of chapters explain why there are so many hereditary diseases common in Finland and very rare elsewhere. There is also a list of the diseases.

Also this:
"Seppo Niinioja:...to put the "bad" Finnish genes into perspective, it deserves to be mentioned that there are some 6000 known hereditary diseases of the human species caused by a single gene. The special Finnish rare disease heritage includes 36 diseases and 5 more considered to be added to the list. Some of them are very difficult, some easily treated. The overwhelming majority of the hereditary diseases are the same as elsewhere in the world, and on the other hand, many diseases well known elsewhere do not occur here. In my understanding, the number of those suffering of most of those 36 special diseases in Finland is marginal. If I remember right, the newest found disease affects only three immediate families. They really aren't an everyday concern.

One should of course also, according to Mendel's findings from the 19th century differentiate between predominant and recessive genes. Most of the special Finnish diseases are inherited recessively, that is only if both parents carry the gene. Most of the bad genes are due to occasional mutations, not so much to our roots.

Cases have indeed been found in Finland where carriers of the same Finnish hereditary disease are related from as far back as from the 1600s. As already mentioned on the list, regional isolation and interfamily marriages are a natural cause of the occurrence of the diseases. A couple of years ago there was a program on Finnish TV about an Italian family who have an exceptional blood congelation factor (?) also found to be inherited in the family from the 1600s. There has been much talk about the significance of genealogy for medicine and this seems to come true to some extent. For the genealogist, DNA based genetic evidence of uncertain family relationships is probably even more intriguing."


26-01-05, 16:29
Robert Sund's younger brother inherited pseudo thaxoma elasticum, if I've spelled it correctly, from the birth parents. Robert died of other causes, which is logical since he was adopted. I wonder what the incidence in Sundom families is of that disease. It causes hardening of muscles, and appeared to affect his vision first. He died at only age 58.