A Genetic Clue to Peanut Allergy

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Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada have identified a gene associated with peanut allergies. This discovery provides new evidence that genes play a role in the development of food allergies and may lead to improvements in food allergy diagnosis and treatment.

Called c11orf30/EMSY (EMSY), this gene is already known to influence other allergy-related conditions, including allergic rhinitis, asthma, and eczema. This study is the first to link EMSY to food allergies as well as to general allergic predisposition, according to researchers.

For the study, researchers analyzed DNA from 850 people with peanut allergies from the Canadian Peanut Allergy Registry, 1,000 people without a peanut allergy, and also analyzed results from six other genetic studies involving American, Australian, Dutch, and German populations. They discovered that EMSY is associated with an increased risk for both peanut allergy and food allergies in general, and that five additional gene locations also may be involved in food allergies.

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