Monday, July 30, 2007

GWA for multiple sclerosis   posted by p-ter @ 7/30/2007 09:34:00 PM

The latest phenotype to get the scrutiny of a genome-wide association study is multiple sclerosis: three separate reports (ok, only one of them is genome-wide) point to variation in various immune system genes as predisposing to the disease. The effects of one of the variants seems to be non-additive-- one group reports that the heterozygotes for the "causal" allele seem to actually be protected, while the homozygotes have a higher risk.

There are a number of reason why this could be the case-- linkage disequilibrium patterns and the existence of multiple predisposing alleles can lead to odd patterns of risk, even flipping the apparent effect in some cases. Another possibility, of course, is that there's some interesting biology there. More research, as they say, is needed.

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