Counting the number of times a string of letters appears in the genome could bring us closer to predicting kidney failure, suggests an international team of researchers. They found that fewer copies of a gene which produces an important defense protein [that] increases a person’s risk of developing a common form of kidney inflammation.
The findings could help explain why Chinese people are more susceptible to the condition known as immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN),…[which] is a leading cause of kidney disease in this population.
“The contribution of this locus to the IgAN risk equals the sum of all the other genetic risk factors that have been discovered so far,” says [Jianjun Liu, who led the study at the A*STAR Genome Institute of Singapore]. He and his team wanted to explore this region further by quantifying patterns of repetition…in a specific gene called DEFA1A3. The number of times a gene repeats can influence disease development and progression.
They found that the IgAN patients had significantly fewer repetitions of the DEFA1A3 gene, which was associated with an increased risk of developing the disease.
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