Mountain View, Calif. The largest genome-wide association study ever conducted on common allergies, including pollen, dust-mite and cat allergies, has identified 16 new genetic associations related to the condition. The study, conducted in collaboration between 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), examined data for more than 53,000 individuals. The study also identified eight genetic variations for allergies that have previously been associated with asthma. Genes implicated in the study highlight a series of key pathways in the biological basis of common allergies.
Allergies and allergic asthma are among the most common diseases in the industrialized world. In the United States, a 2005 survey showed that more than half of the population tested positive for sensitization to at least one of 10 common allergens, a considerable increase over results of the same survey performed approximately 10 years earlier.[i]
"We've seen some substantial increases in prevalence of allergies and asthma," said David Hinds, Ph.D., author and 23andMe principal scientist. "Although environmental factors certainly play a role, our study reinforces the genetic link between common allergens and a person's susceptibility to experiencing an allergic reaction. Additionally, current estimates of the heritability of allergies are high, which suggests that understanding the genetic factors underlying allergic conditions may be key to understanding who might be most likely to suffer from allergies and how the condition might best be treated."
The study, titled "A Genome-Wide Association Meta-Analysis of Self-Reported Allergy Identifies Shared and Allergy-Specific Susceptibility Loci" was published online on June 30, 2013 in Nature Genetics, a leading monthly, international scientific journal.
23andMe selected three common self-reported allergy phenotypes pollen, dust-mi
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