Genetic risk of MS


MS patients who are planning to start a family may be concerned about passing down MS to their child [1]. Although MS does not follow Mendelian patterns of inheritance, its incidence and prevalence are higher in family members of affected individuals compared with the general population [2]. According to current understanding, the development of MS is based on complex and individually heterogeneous interactions between genetic and environmental factors [3]. A number of risk and susceptibility genes for MS have been identified [4], but their precise biological roles remain to be clarified [3]. In Germany, the estimated risk of MS in the general population is 0.1-0.2%. This risk increases depending on the degree of the relationship with someone who has MS (see figure) [5].


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Risk of MS by relationship to someone with MS [5]


  • Anderson J, Wallace L. Practising Midwife 2013; 16(6): 28-31. Return to content
  • Patsopoulos NA. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2018; 8(7): a028951. Return to content
  • Waubant E et al. Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2019; 6(9): 1905-22. Return to content
  • Coyle PK. Ther Adv Neurol Disord 2016; 9(3): 198-210. Return to content
  • Kompetenznetz Multiple Sklerose: Qualitätshandbuch, 2022. Available at: (Accessed August 22, 2022). Return to content
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