A genetic disorder is a genetic problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome, especially a condition that is present from birth (congenital). Most genetic disorders are quite rare and affect one person in every several thousands or millions.
Genetic disorders may or may not be heritable, i.e., passed down from the parents’ genes. In non-heritable genetic disorders, defects may be caused by new mutations or changes to the DNA. In such cases, the defect will only be heritable if it occurs in thegerm line. The same disease, such as some forms of cancer, may be caused by an inherited genetic condition in some people, by new mutations in other people, and mainly by environmental causes in still other people. Whether, when and to what extent a person with the genetic defect or abnormality will actually suffer from the disease is almost always affected by the environmental factors and events in the person’s development.
Some types of recessive gene disorders confer an advantage in certain environments when only one copy of the gene is present.