Egg and sperm cells

Epidermolysis bullosa is a genetic condition which means the symptoms are caused by changes to our DNA, sometimes called ‘mutations’. We can inherit these genetic changes from one or both parents or they can happen for the first time in the egg or sperm that made us, called a ‘spontaneous’ or ‘de novo’ mutation. 

Genetic conditions are not catching, they are ‘congenital’ which means they are something a person is born with. They are nobody’s fault and not due to anything anyone did or didn’t do – they are just down to chance. Copying our DNA each time a new cell is made is complicated and our bodies simply don’t get it right every single time. There will be DNA changes (mutations) in every individual person that don’t do any harm at all but sometimes they change the DNA instructions for making proteins in our skin and we get symptoms of EB. The changed DNA exists in all our cells including those that make our own eggs and sperm and can be passed on to our children. But different types of EB are inherited in different ways and the symptoms will not always be passed on.


Image credit: Egg and Sperm, by Christinelmiller. Licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.