18 Oct 2013

Dinner meeting: Sharing genetic knowledge. Speaker: PP Stephen Lam

Our birthday boy today was PP Francesco, so we sang the birthday song to him and Acting President Betty presented to him a bottle of red wine as a gift.

Our speaker today was PP Stephen Lam from Rotary Club of Hong Kong Northwest, who spoke about “Sharing Genetic Knowledge”. Dr Stephen Lam obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of Hong Kong in 1976. Subsequently, he was trained in Paediatrics and Clinical Genetics in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong and Guy’s Hospital, London. His present position is Consultant Clinical Geneticist, Director of Genetic Laboratory and Head of Clinical Genetic Service, Department of Health, Hong Kong.

PP Stephen explained genetic knowledge to us that there are two types of genes. The autosome define every trait except gende. The chromosome defines gender based on X and Y chromosomes.  Any defect or disorder in the mutation in DNA of one gene or a gross defect in entire set of chromosomes in Genome leads to genetic diseases, which can vary from minor to major genetic defects or diseases.  For example, G6PD Deficiency is an X-linked recessive genetic condition.  Glucose-6-Phosphate De hydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction to stabilize red blood cells. G6PD deficient subjects normally enjoy good health. But they will develop acute hemolytic anemia when exposed to exogenous stresses such as fava beans, certain drugs or severe infections.

Research shows that there are usually four different types of Genetic Diseases. They include Single Gene Inheritance, Multifactorial Inheritance, Chromosome Abnormalities, and Mitochondrial Genetic Diseases.

While single cell anemia and Huntington’s disease belong to the category of Single Gene Inheritance Genetic Disease, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, and others are examples of Multifactorial Inheritance Genetic Disease.

Fortunately, club members were not asked to take an exam following the informative lecture.

Our Sergeant, Rtn Praveen, collected HK$880 for raffle and fines.  PP Stephened help to draw the raffle gift—a box of Chocolate—and the winner was Rtn Praveen.  PP Nick also kindly donated a camp chair as raffle prize, and the winner was Rtn Laurence.