Global Study on Genetic Defects

A new 85-page report on genetic defects spans the rate of defects per 1,000 births, ranging from 82 in Sudan and 81 in Saudi Arabia at the high end, to 40 in France and 42 in Austria. The United States has the 20th-lowest rate, with 48.

Affluence is a big determinant of the risk. In low-income countries, the average rate is 64; in middle-income countries, 56; and in rich countries, 47.

Interventions proven to work are unavailable in low-income countries.

With the help of a grant from the March of Dimes, geneticists at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg are developing a course to teach nurses and birth attendants the rudiments of medical genetics and how to examine newborns for common birth defects.

[By David Brown, Washington Post]

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