Dwarfism is used to describe a person of short stature, less than 4 feet 10 inches (147 cm). This can occur naturally, but often it is a medical condition.
Dwarfism is often caused by the person inheriting an allele (a mutant gene), which produces a defect in development. Defects caused by genetics are the main kind of congenital defects, and usually cannot be cured.
The most common cause of dwarfism is a defect in bone development called achondroplasia, in which the limbs are short in proportion to the body. This accounts for 70% of cases.
There are more than 200 other conditions which may cause dwarfism.
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- Kennedy, Dan. "P.O.V. – Big Enough. What is Dwarfism?". Public Broadcasting Service. http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/bigenough/special_dwarfism_ety.html. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "MedlinePlus: Dwarfism". MedlinePlus. National Institute of Health. 2008-08-04. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dwarfism.html. Retrieved 2008-10-03.