Washington: Scientists have revealed a novel gene associated with the elevated risk for asthma in African-Americans.
By pooling data from nine independent research groups looking for genes associated with asthma, the newly-created EVE Consortium identified a novel gene association specific to populations of African descent.
In addition, the new study confirmed the significance of four gene associations with the disease.
The findings are a promising first step for a new national scientific effort to hunt for the genetic roots of asthma.
“We now have a really good handle on at least five genes that anyone would be comfortable saying are asthma risk loci,” said Carole Ober, PhD, co-chair of the EVE Consortium, senior author of the study, and Blum-Riese Professor of human genetics and obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Chicago.
“I think it``s an exciting time in asthma genetics.”
“Asthma rates have been on the rise in recent years, with the greatest rise among African Americans,” said Susan B. Shurin, M.D., acting director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, which co-funded the study.
“Understanding these genetic links is an important first step towards our goal of relieving the increased burden of asthma in this population,” she added.