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Researchers discover 10 new lupus genes in Asian population study.

An international coalition of researchers led by Swapan Nath, PhD, has identified 10 new genes associated with the autoimmune disease lupus. The findings were published in Nature Genetics.

The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 human DNA samples collected from blood gathered from volunteers in South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Japan. Of those samples, nearly 4,500 had confirmed cases of lupus, while the rest served as healthy controls.

From analysis of those samples, the researchers identified 10 distinct DNA sequence variants linked to lupus, a debilitating chronic autoimmune disease where the body's immune system becomes unbalanced and attacks its own tissues. Lupus can result in damage to many different body systems, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, and lungs. More than 16,000 people are diagnosed with lupus in the United States each year, and it affects as many as 1.5 million Americans and five million people worldwide.

Thirty-seven researchers from 23 institutes, hospitals, and universities in the U.S., Malaysia, Korea, China, and Japan took part in Nath's study.

In the study, one gene in particular, known as GTF2I, showed a high likelihood of being involved in the development of lupus. With GTF21 and the other nine new genes identified, Nath and his colleagues can try to pinpoint where defects occur and whether those mutations contribute to the onset of lupus pathogenesis. Nath says that understanding where and how the defects arise will allow scientists to develop more effective therapies specifically targeting those genes.

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Title Annotation:Genetics/Genomics
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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