Graves’ disease relates to the inheritance of predisposing genes and environmental triggers. Genetic defines the predisposition to Graves’ disease but not the fate as environmental triggers needs to be present for Graves’ disease to develop. Female children are more predisposed to Graves’ disease. When Graves’ disease occurs in children it tends to be linked to father’s genetics, especially when a father has thyroid antibodies. Identical twins (same genetics) from affected parents have a maximum of 50% chance of both developing Graves’ disease. Non identical children from affected parents (half of identical genes) have about 13% chance of both having Graves’ disease. Therefore parent to child chance of developing Graves’ disease in also about 13% (as a half genes is inherited from each parent). The chances of Graves’ disease increase with each additional family member with Graves’ disease.
1. Brix TH, Kyvik KO, Christensen K, Hegedus L. Evidence for a major role of heredity in Graves’ disease: a population based study of two Danish twin cohorts. J Clin Endocrinol Metab Feb 2001;86(2):930-4.
2. Gregory A. Brent G. Graves’ disease. New England Journal of Medicine 2008; 358: 2594–2605
3. Seqni M. Pani MA. Pasquino AM. Badenhoop K. Familial clustering of juvenile thyroid autoimmunity: higher risk is conferred by human leukocyte antigen DR3-DQ2 and thyroid peroxidase antibody status in fathers. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.2002 Aug: 87(8):3779-82.