Broad study finds new illness genes
London – Researchers at the University of Manchester have identified evidence of several new genes behind the chronic inflammatory disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Prof. Jane Worthington and her team at the University’s arthritis research campaign Epidemiology Unit made their findings as part of the largest ever study carried out by the WTCCC of the genetics behind common diseases. The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium is funded by a12 million and involves 50 research groups in Britain and more than 200 scientists in the field of human genetics. The researchers identified a number of new genes implicated in coronary heart disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, bipolar disorder and hypertension. 17,000 DNA samples have been analysed – two thousand for each disease and three thousand as control samples. In particular, RA research could be boosted by the obtained results as the team around Worthington found a number of new genes involved in the development of the illness. Before the study, only two genes had been known to be behind 50% of the genetically determined susceptibility. “We believe the genes we have found may determine who develops RA or how severe the disease becomes”, said Dr. Anne Barton, a clinician at the University of Manchester.