Genetics Northern California



A neural tube defect that occurs when there is an opening in the bones of the skull through which brain tissue protrudes.

Folic acid

A vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida and other neural tube defects in the newborn. Found in leafy green vegetables, liver, legumes, yeast, and some fruits. Important component of multivitamins and prenatal vitamins.


Genetic disorder resulting from the combined action of alleles of more than one gene (e.g., heart disease, neural tube defects, diabetes, and some cancers) and the environment. Hereditary patterns are usually more complex than those of single gene disorders.

Neural tube defect

Birth defects which involve incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord and/or the protective coverings for these organs. Types of NTDs include spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele.