Researchers Produce Genetic Map to Help Determine IBD Causes

Researchers Produce Genetic Map to Help Determine IBD Causes
Researchers are narrowing in on the specific genes that are responsible for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a discovery that could lead to better treatment strategies and new therapy targets. Scientists conducted detailed genetic and statistical analysis of over 600 genes previously associated with IBD, allowing them to identify 18 genetic variants actively involved in IBD development, according to an article published in the science journal Nature. The findings are featured in a study titled, “Fine-mapping inflammatory bowel disease loci to single-variant resolution.” The underlying cause of IBD remains unknown, and for many years researchers have searched for genetic abnormalities that could explain the disease’s development. Hundreds of links between the disease and various genes have been reported, but their clinical relevance is not fully understood. This new research allowed the team to produce a high-resolution map to investigate which genetic variants contribute to causing IBD. “An issue with studying complex diseases is that it can be hard to move from genetic associations, usually including many genetic variants of similar evidence, to knowing exactly which variants are involved,” Hailiang Huang, PhD, a genetics instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital, associated scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the study’s coauthor, said in a news release. A research team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
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