Cystic Fibrosis : A Life Threatening Genetic Disorder

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Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis or CF is a life threatening genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs and digestive system. Cystic Fibrosis is most common among the Caucasian population, particularly people of northwestern European descent and is less common in people of African ancestry and is very rare in people of Asian ancestry. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, “an estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) have CF” (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2014).
Cystic Fibrosis was not recognized as a separate disease until 1938. Before 1938, only about 12% of infants and children who have Cystic Fibrosis lived into adulthood. Today, due to advances in medicine, 75% of children survive into adulthood, even reaching the age of 40 (Marcovitch, 2010).
Cystic Fibrosis is caused by a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) which is located in the middle of chromosome 7. The CFTR gene encodes a protein of the same name. This protein functions as a “channel across the membrane of cells that produce mucus, sweat, saliva, tears and digestive enzymes” (Genetics Home Reference, 2015). The channel transports chloride ions which are negatively charged particles, in and out of cells which help in controlling the water movement in tissues to allow for the production of thin, feely flowing mucus, a substance that lubricates and lines the airways, digestive system, reproductive system and other tissues and
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