Home English Sign in or join HDYO Kids Teens Young adults Parents JHD Friends Professionals News About Us Videos Books Events Fundraising Ask a Question Creative Expression Local Support HDYO Youth Service Links Contact Us Terms Privacy Language Sitemap Donate Store

How do you get HD without your ancestors having it?

December 1, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

HDYO has more information about HD available for young people, parents and professionals on our site:


How do you get HD without your ancestors having it?

Q. How do people get HD if none of their ancestors had or have it?

Maddie, 11, USA

Ask a question

A. Hi Maddie

Thanks for your email. That’s a great question, which is really difficult to answer.

I guess the best answer I have is that sometimes (very, very rarely) the HD gene just changes on its own in an individual. There are a bunch of complicated biological reasons why that could happen. I’d be happy to try and explain that more to you but I don’t know your level of knowledge about genetics (in the UK, most 11 year olds have not learned anything about genes, but I don’t want to assume that’s the case with you). You are welcome to ask further questions on this if you’re not happy about the answer.

Best wishes