Monday, October 23, 2017
New Genetic Clue to Peanut Allergy
Researchers Denise Daley and Ann Clarke from AllerGen discovered a gene associated with the prevalence of peanut allergy in humans. In previous studies, the gene c11orf30, commonly known as EMSY, was pinpointed as a major contributor to allergy-related conditions. Daley & Clarke are the first researchers to link food allergy to the locus of the gene EMSY. The researchers also discovered that the EMSY locus may be associated with a predisposition to allergies. Daley discussed that food allergies are the result of both genetic and environmental factors, but there have not been as many studies conducted regarding the genetic basis of food allergies.
The researchers collected and analyzed data from 850 people with a peanut allergy, and close to 1000 people without a peanut allergy. The research team reviewed over 7.5 million loci on the genomes. They looked for any genetic markers that could be associated with increased risk for the development of food allergies.
The researchers discovered that the EMSY locus was associated with not only general food allergy, but was also associated specifically to peanut allergy. The researchers also believe that five other gene loci are involved with the susceptibility to general food allergy.
I found this article interesting because a peanut allergy, in particular, is a food allergy known to develop early in life, and is rarely "outgrown." This research can lead to future discoveries to improve the diagnostics of food allergy at an early age. I would hope that technology for genome sequencing would improve in the future, and that people would have access to the information on their vulnerability to food allergies at a young age. If this technology is used in the future, this will benefit the diagnoses of people with food allergies, and hopefully result in fewer food allergy-related deaths.
Image: EMSY gene