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Taking a genetic family history

Family history can be an important risk factor for asthma, diabetes and some forms of cancer and can be used to identify families with single-gene conditions. Some national clinical guidelines therefore highlight the importance of taking and recording a genetic family history.

 A genetic family history consists of information describing:

This information is usually gathered by asking a series of questions about each member of the family in a systematic order and recording the information pictorially as a family tree (a pedigree). 

1. Understanding genetic family history

Learn how to collect family history systematically and how to record it by drawing a pedigree

2. Genetic family history: check your knowledge

Test your understanding of pedigree symbols and family relationships

3. Genetic family history in practice

Observe family history taking in practice and practise drawing pedigrees