Yes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) does appear to run in families and about 15-30 percent of people with IBD have a family member with the condition.
Also, people of Jewish heritage, particularly the Ashkenazi Jewish population, have an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease. Researchers have identified close to 32 genes that may play a part in Crohn's disease. Researchers at the Jill Roberts Center are currently collaborating with Weill Cornell Medical College researchers and exploring the function of one of these genes – the NOD-2 gene – and Crohn's disease. Specifically, researchers are investigating to see if the NOD-2 gene is linked to low levels of interleukin 10 (IL-10), which is an anti-inflammatory protein in the body. This deficiency in IL-10 may drive the persistent inflammation that occurs in the intestines of people with Crohn's disease.