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October 29, 1999

Genetics and Heredity

Question from Fairfax, Virginia, USA:

My husband, who is 25, has type 1 diabetes (onset was at 12 years of age). What are the chances of our children having diabetes?


Assuming that your husband has Type�1A (autoimmune) diabetes, by far the commonest form in a 12 year old Caucasian in North America, the chances of any of your children having the same problem is about 7%. It would be rather smaller if you were the diabetic.

Additional comments from Dr. Brink:

Current research suggests about a 3-6% risk for children of males and about 2-4% risk for children of females. There is a national US study of potential diabetes in family members called DPT-1 that is ongoing. You should talk to your husband’s diabetes doctor since he would know how to contact the nearest DPT-1 testing center if you would like more specific testing done free of charge as part of the DPT-1 study.


[Editor’s comment: A number to call to get more information about the DPT is 1-800-425-8361.