Tay-Sachs carrier

A carrier is a person who has inherited a changed (mutated) gene from one parent. Tay-Sachs carriers do not have Tay-Sachs disease, but they can pass the gene to their children.

If two people who are both Tay-Sachs carriers have children, each child has a 1-in-4 chance (25%) of having Tay-Sachs disease, a 1-in-2 chance (50%) of being a carrier, and a 1-in-4 chance (25%) of being neither a carrier nor a person with Tay-Sachs disease.

Tay-Sachs is a rare genetic disorder in which the body produces little or none of the enzyme hexosaminidase A (hex A). Without hex A, normal fatty compounds (called gangliosides) are not broken down in the body cells and they gradually accumulate and damage brain and nerve cells, making the cells unable to function properly.

A blood test can tell whether a person is a Tay-Sachs carrier.

Last Updated: April 4, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.