Health Encyclopedia

 

Health Encyclopedia Home



New DNA Discoveries Advance MS Research

New DNA Discoveries Advance MS Research

TUESDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- An international team of scientists has identified 48 new genetic variants associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study says.

The findings bring to 110 the number of genetic variants linked to MS and offer new insight into the biology of the progressive neurological disease.

The genes pinpointed in the new study underline the central role played by the immune system in the development of MS and show significant overlap with genes known to be involved in other autoimmune diseases, according to the study, which was published online Sept. 29 in the journal Nature Genetics.

The International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium included 193 investigators in 13 countries. They analyzed DNA from more than 29,000 people with MS and nearly 51,000 people without the disease, making it the largest MS study ever undertaken.

Although there are now 110 genetic variants known to be associated with MS, each variant individually confers only a small risk of developing the disease. Collectively, these genetic variants explain about 20 percent of the genetic component of MS, the researchers said.

The new findings are "a major step forward," according to study co-leader Jacob McCauley of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"Describing the genetic underpinnings of any complex disease is a complicated but critical step. By further refining the genetic landscape of multiple sclerosis and identifying novel genetic associations, we are closer to being able to identify the cellular and molecular processes responsible for MS and therefore the specific biological targets for future drug treatment strategies," he said in a University of Miami news release.

MS affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide, according to the news release. It causes inflammation and damage to the central nervous system that leads to problems with mobility, balance, sensation and thinking, depending upon where the damage occurs.

The risk of developing MS is higher among people who have a family history of the disease. Research in twins and adopted people has suggested that this increased risk is primarily due to genetic factors.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about multiple sclerosis.

SOURCE: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, news release, Sept. 29, 2013

 
Related Items
Daily News Feed
  'Female' X Chromosome May Play Part in Sperm Production
  Mediterranean Diet May Counter Genetic Risk of Stroke
  Genetic Syndrome May Have Links to Parkinson's Disease
  Healthy Lifestyle May Reverse Cellular Aging, Study Suggests
  Study Ties Y Chromosome Variations to Prostate Cancer Risk
  'Body Clock' May Explain Why Some Body Parts Age Faster Than Others
  Gene Mutation Tied to Higher Obesity Risk in Kids
  Tests May Someday Show Which Breast, Prostate Cancers Will Turn Aggressive
  Cells Show Signs of Faster Aging After Depression
  Joblessness May Age You, Study Suggests
  DNA Can Predict Unusually Tall Height, Study Shows
  Deciphering the DNA of Alzheimer's Patients
  Scientists Discover Another Genetic Code
  'Stress Gene' Might Raise Odds for Heart Attack, Death, Study Shows
  Study Probes Origins of 2 Ancient, Deadly Plagues
  Neanderthal DNA Influences Modern Humans: Study
  Could Antioxidants Speed Up Cancer Progression?
  Blood Test Might Help Tell When Peanut Allergy Is Gone: Study
  Embryo Selection May Help Prevent Some Inherited Disorders
  Only Close Family History Needed for Cancer Risk Assessment
  Calico Cats May Help Scientists Understand Human Genetics
  Scientists Spot 7 New Regions of DNA Tied to Type 2 Diabetes
  Whole-Genome Scans Not Quite Ready for Widespread Use: Study
  Scientists Make Gene Discovery in Lou Gehrig's Disease
  DNA Test May Gauge Risk of Prostate Cancer's Return
  Blood Test Aims to Predict Breast Cancer's Return
  Y Chromosome Loss Linked to Higher Cancer Risk in Men
  Gene May Boost Chances of Type 2 Diabetes for Latinos
  'Practice Makes Perfect' Genes May Be Key to Great Musicians
  Like Humans, Chimps' Smarts May Rely on Genes