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Understanding the Genetic Basis of Pectus Carinatum: What Causes It and Can It Be Inherited

Pectus carinatum, also known as pigeon chest, is a condition that is not well-known to most people. In this article, we will explore the genetic causes of pectus carinatum and the impact of other factors. We will also address the likelihood of a child inheriting and developing this condition. Find out everything you need to know about the genetic basis of pectus carinatum.

Understanding Pectus Carinatum: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Pectus carinatum is a structural condition that occurs when part of the breastbone sticks out from the rest of the chest. This happens due to excessive growth of breastbone cartilage and is present from birth, but typically becomes noticeable during late pre-teen or early teen years. Symptoms of pectus carinatum can vary in severity, including poor posture, curvature of the spine, rib flaring, tachycardia, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. 

In some cases, pectus carinatum may be associated with other syndromes or conditions. While non-surgical treatments like orthotic bracing can be effective for mild cases, severe cases may require corrective surgery. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for pectus carinatum.

The Causes of Pectus Carinatum: Genetic and Environmental Factors

The causes of pectus carinatum are not fully understood and are still being studied by doctors and scientists. While genetics plays a role in at least 25% of cases, other factors like environmental influences and chance also contribute to the condition. In cases where pectus carinatum is inherited, it is usually autosomal dominant, but it can also be autosomal recessive. 

However, most cases are attributed to multifactorial inheritance, where a combination of genetic and environmental factors leads to the development of the condition. Learn more about the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to pectus carinatum.

The Genetics of Pectus Carinatum: Known and Unknown Genes

While the specific genes responsible for isolated cases of pectus carinatum are not yet identified in most cases, genes linked to other syndromes associated with the condition have been identified. 

For instance, mutations in the FBN1 gene are commonly found in patients with Marfan syndrome, which often results in a pectus deformity. Additionally, mutations in the PTPN11 or SOS1 genes are commonly found in patients with Noonan syndrome. Although tests are available for mutations in many of these genes, more research is needed to identify the specific genes responsible for causing isolated cases of pectus carinatum. Learn more about the known and unknown genes associated with pectus carinatum.

Pectus Carinatum in Families

Pectus carinatum may run in families, but the risk of passing it on depends on the cause. If pectus carinatum is associated with genetic conditions like Marfan or Noonan syndrome, the chance of passing it to a child is 50%. However, for isolated cases, the risk is much lower. Currently, there are no genetic tests available specifically for pectus carinatum, but tests for associated syndromes are available.

Pectus carinatum occurs in about 0.07% of births, but the risk may vary depending on genetics and location. Studies from Brazil and Turkey report higher rates among middle schoolers. Males are more likely to develop pectus carinatum than females, with odds 4 to 5 times higher in clinical studies. However, some studies report even higher rates for males.

If you have pectus carinatum and want to know the chance of passing it to your child, it is difficult to calculate. Your healthcare professional can recommend genetic tests for associated syndromes.


If your child has pectus carinatum, Dakota Brace is here to help. Our goal is to offer top-quality treatment for pectus carinatum that won’t break the bank. Book a complimentary consultation with one of our healthcare experts and get $75 off your initial purchase!

James John
I am the admin of this health and fitness blog. I completed his diploma in medical science. I loves to share my knowledge in medical science.
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