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Title: Some applications of genetics in dentistry
Author: Sofaer, J. A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1983
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Genetics is fundamental to an understanding of differences between individuals and between populations. Common minor differences are found within what is generally accepted as the normal range of variation, while relatively unusual but more major differences may be appropriately considered under the heading of pathology. Both major and minor differences occur in terms of structure, function or susceptibility to disease. This submission contains examples of such differences and their exploitation or analysis, most of which fall within the general field of dentistry. A number of observations of inherited dental abnormalities in man and experimental animals are included. These indicate that there can be compensatory interaction between neighbouring tooth germs during development. Based on this interaction, a model to account for differential evolutionary reduction of tooth size is proposed. Studies of regional differentiation in the mouse vertebral column are described, the vertebral column being a series of homologous structures divided into morphological classes in the same way as heterodont dentitions. The effects of a number of inherited disorders of the axial skeleton indicate that vertebral class boundaries in the mouse are established at a very early stage, even before somite formation. The use of dental morphology for population discrimination is discussed in relation to studies of the genetics of dental morphological variation, and a population comparison in which the discriminating power of dental morphology was tested against that provided by known genetic variants. Studies of inherited iron-deficiency anaemia in the mouse are described. They show that the disorder is associated with thinner lingual epithelium than normal and possibly with increased susceptibility to oral candidosis. Different strains of Candida produced different levels of oral colonisation and infection in normal mice, suggesting that susceptibility to candidosis may be related to variation in the microorganism as well as the host. A human family study of Paget's disease of bone is reported. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that Paget's disease is caused by a common virus, with genetic variation for susceptibility to the disease. Also in man, a comparison between carriers of X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (in whom manifestations of the disease may be limited to minimal hypodontia) and females with hypodontia for other reasons indicates that carriers may be distinguished from among female hypodontia cases in general by means of a reduced sweat pore count. In the past, various genetic principles have been misapplied in dentistry. Two critiques of such misapplications are included, together with contributions to a review of current dental research, undergraduate and postgraduate dental texts, and a major new medical genetics text.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Sc.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available