Research Brief: Genetic link to childhood asthma identified

A gene that is strongly associated with the risk of developing childhood onset asthma has been identified by UK researchers. In a genetic study of more than 2,000 children, the team established that genetic markers on chromosome 17 had a striking effect on the risk of asthma in children. These markers were shown to be altering the levels of a new gene called ORMDL3, which was at a higher level in the blood cells of children with asthma than in those without. The findings suggest that the presence of ORMDL3 could increase the risk of having asthma by 60-70 per cent (Nature Online 2007).

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