Individuals with down syndrome may experience mental and physical difficulties throughout their lives. While there may be some similarities in behavior and appearance among those with down syndrome, each person possesses unique abilities. This article summarises the way down syndrome occurs and its causes.
How does down syndrome occur?
Down syndrome occurs when there is an abnormal cell division involving chromosome 21, leading to an extra partial or full chromosome 21. It cannot be prevented.
Each cell in the human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. One chromosome in each pair comes from your mother, and the other comes from your father. When there is abnormal cell division involving chromosome 21, down syndrome occurs. This abnormal cell division leads to an extra partial or full chromosome 21. This extra genetic material is responsible for the characteristic features and developmental problems of down syndrome.
What are the causative agents of down syndrome?
Down syndrome is caused by a random error in cell division that results in the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21.
Down syndrome is typically not a hereditary condition and arises randomly as a result of cellular division errors during the early stages of fetal development. Despite ongoing research, the precise factors that cause or contribute to the occurrence of down syndrome remain uncertain. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, the likelihood of having a baby with down syndrome is linked to maternal age, specifically resulting from nondisjunction or mosaicism. Despite this, the majority of children with down syndrome, approximately 80%, are born to women under the age of 35 due to their higher birth rates.
There is no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest environmental factors or parental activities during pregnancy cause down syndrome. However, if someone has a child with down syndrome, the chances of having another child with the condition increases.
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