Autosomal dominant inheritance Inheritance and genetics

Autosomal dominant inheritance includes, but is not limited to: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), Myotonic dystrophy, Most oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophies, Type 1 limb girdle muscular dystrophies

‘Autosomal’ means the mutation is in a gene on the non-sex chromosomes, so either sex can inherit the condition.

‘Dominant’ means the mutation has to occur in only one copy of the gene for someone to inherit the condition.

If one parent has the condition and the other doesn’t (see diagram), there is a:

  •  50 percent chance that each child will have the condition
  •  50 percent chance that each child will be unaffected.
This diagram shows what would happen if an affected parent with an automsomal dominant condition and an unaffected parent had children. Two of the four children would be affected and the other 2 would be unaffected.

Are there ways of not passing the condition on to my children?

There are options available for some couples affected by muscle-wasting conditions to have an unaffected child. You can read about these in our Genetic counselling and family planning pages

We recommend speaking to your local clinical geneticist or genetic counsellor about what options might be available to you.