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The Family Variant

Two sisters are dealing with learning that their father died of a rare genetic illness that they've inherited, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Bill Linder died in 1996 at age 49 after suffering from a mysterious set of symptoms: loss of breath, swelling in his lower extremities, and lymphedema. Toward the end of his illness, the Dispatch writes that the Linder family met Christine Seidman from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. After Linder died, Seidman and her team, in 2003, mapped the Linder family genes to find a mutation on the X chromosome that was likely behind the condition.

That meant, the Dispatch notes, that Linder's daughters, sisters Joselin Linder and Hilary Griffith, now grown up, inherited the variant. Both have experienced blocked portal veins as well as varices, but are otherwise physically healthy, it adds.

"There's a mind-game component, for sure," Joselin Linder says. "I have to watch myself because I am so afraid now. You can't live your life walking around like you're dying, but I need to be vigilant and I need to do what I can to prolong my life and stay healthy." She has also written a memoir about her experience.

Griffith adds that she's gotten notes from old friends who've learned of her condition. "I'm healthy," she tells the Dispatch, "trying to live my life."