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December 03, 2004

"Racial Disparities Noted In Immune System Genes"

I noticed a new paper today ("Differential Distribution of Allelic Variants in Cytokine Genes among African Americans and White Americans").

From the press release:

"We found that African Americans were significantly more likely to carry genetic variants known to stimulate the inflammatory response," ... "At the same time, genotypes known to dampen the release of anti-inflammatory proteins were more common among African Americans. This is kind of a double whammy."

Their method:

Specifically, scientists compared genetic data on 179 African-American and 396 white women who sought prenatal care and delivered uncomplicated, single, first births at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between 1997 and 2001. Blood samples were analyzed for a multitude of functionally relevant allelic variants in cytokine-regulating genes.

And an unexpectedly candid result:

"In the past, people looked at one or two variants," said Dr. Ness. "We looked at a whole host, and saw trends that perhaps point to some evolutionary-mediated change in the human genome that has had an impact on inflammation."
Posted by rikurzhen at 12:30 PM