Since 2010, a Jewish genetic education and screening program in Pittsburgh has identified that Jewish people between the ages of 18-40, should undergo pre-conception screening. During an affiliation with The Victor Center of the Einstein Medical Center of Philadelphia,(2010-2014) over 500 people were screened in Pittsburgh for 19 recessive genetic diseases. Of these, one in 3.6 people were was a carrier of a genetic mutation known to have a higher frequency in the Jewish population. carriers. Some carriers exhibited more than one disease mutation. Since 2014, the program concentrated on the Pittsburgh community as JGenesPittsburgh, with it’s fiscal affiliation with The Jewish Healthcare Foundation. During this time, the number of Jewish genetic diseases identified has grown to over 38. The carrier rate is maintained, overall, at 1 in 4, although a saliva screening done with JScreen resulted in 1 of 2 people were carriers.
As technology techniques continuously approaches advance, facilitating cheaper genomic investigation and more complete sequencing, using saliva as the medium for DNA screening makes the test available and easily performed. This screening should be absorbed into the natural annual life cycle of every Jew, just as there one engagesis in a cycle of vaccination. Understanding your inherited genetic make make-up and risks be understood provides information to make choices and decisions, and, in the case of recessive diseases, decisions that will affect offspring when the co-parent has the same mutated gene(s).