Drawing a Family Pedigree A genetic pedigree is a visual representation of a family tree. It is an efficient way to convey information and can help to identify the manner in which a genetic trait is inherited. Knowing the mode of inheritance can help to identify the genetic cause of that trait. There ... Article
Article  |   May 01, 2005
Drawing a Family Pedigree
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachel Fisher
    Pediatrics and Human Development Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / Articles
Article   |   May 01, 2005
Drawing a Family Pedigree
Perspectives on Audiology, May 2005, Vol. 1, 7-9. doi:10.1044/poa1.1.7
Perspectives on Audiology, May 2005, Vol. 1, 7-9. doi:10.1044/poa1.1.7
A genetic pedigree is a visual representation of a family tree. It is an efficient way to convey information and can help to identify the manner in which a genetic trait is inherited. Knowing the mode of inheritance can help to identify the genetic cause of that trait.
There are several computer programs available with which to draw a pedigree, but a hand drawn sketch is usually quite adequate. A number of conventions are universally used and it is important to stick to them.
Males are represented by squares. Females are represented by circles. Figure 1 on page 8 shows the current symbols along with those sometimes present in older charts. When the gender is unknown use a diamond. Figure 1 also shows the symbols used for a miscarriage or stillbirth and the symbol used for a pregnancy. If an individual has been adopted, his or her symbol is bracketed. If individuals have died, a diagonal line is placed through their symbols.
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