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Definition of Genetic anticipation

Genetic anticipation: A remarkable phenomenon in which a genetic disease appears earlier appearance and with increased from with each succeeding generation. Anticipation was once thought not to exist in genetics. It was chalked off as a meaningless statistical artifact. However, anticipation has now been proven to occur in a large number of important genetic disorders, including Huntington disease and myotonic dystrophy. In molecular terms, anticipation is due to the expansion of a trinucleotide repeat sequence in the DNA. This phenomenon also occurs in the fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of mental retardation.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=13220
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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