An international team of researchers from the University of Helsinki, GeneOS Ltd. and partner institutions announced today that it has made significant discoveries on the causes of asthma. The team’s study, published in the April 9, 2004 edition of Science, reports two novel asthma genes and a set of diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
The implications of the finding are that physicians may be able to identify atopic asthma and allergy patients earlier than is currently possible. Even more importantly, the gene that was found to be the risk gene for asthma is well suited for a drug target molecule.
Previous genome-wide scans in multiple populations have suggested that there is a susceptibility region for asthma on chromosome 7p. This study focused its efforts to confirm the hypothesis and to identify the genes in the Finnish families. The results were then replicated among the Canadian families to be sure that the findings are valid also in other populations. A hierarchical genotyping design was used and lead to the identification of a 133kb risk-conferring segment that contained two genes. The data imply that an orphan G-protein receptor named GPRA is involved in the pathogenesis of atopy and asthma and may have application in other inflammatory diseases.
Paivi Lehtinen | alfa
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