Gene behind childhood onset asthma identifiedPublished On: Thu, Jul 5th, 2007 | Allergy | By BioNews
July 5 : Boffins have identified a gene, ORMDL3, which is linked to the risk of developing childhood asthma.
The joint study was conducted by a team of researchers including Goncalo Abecasis and Liming Liang, from the University of Michigan, and from London, France and Germany.
As part of the study researchers compared the genetic makeup of 994 patients with childhood onset asthma and 1,243 non-asthmatics and studied the mutations in DNA building blocks, nucleotides.
Researchers studied more than 317,000 mutations, known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms, to find the ones related to childhood asthma.
The study also analysed the gene expression in human blood cells.
The scientists analysed the genetic makeup of more than 2,000 children from Germany and more than 3,000, who were being monitored since their birth in 1958 for the presence of disease, to confirm the findings.
The study found genetic markers, which were located on chromosome 17, and increased asthma risk in a child.
The markers had higher levels of a new gene called ORMDL3 in their blood, which is present in higher amounts in children with asthma.
Researchers suggested that the presence of this version of ORMDL3 increases the risk of asthma by 60-70 percent.
Scientists believe that the discovery of the ‘asthma gene’ would help to manage childhood asthma better.
“I think eventually it will lead to new therapies because it points to a specific biological molecular pathway. Once we understand the biology and we know the players, it’s possible to target with specific drugs,” Nature quoted Abecasis, as saying. (ANI)