Genetic susceptibility to leprosy
Leprosy is a disfiguring disease that has endured since the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt and India. It is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, a relative of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Leprosy tends to run in families; some families don't seem susceptible to the disease whereas others do, indicating that there may be genes that influence susceptibility.
An international collaborative effort, led by Adrian Hill (of Oxford University, UK) with collaborators in India, has resulted in the first identification of a chromosomal region that is associated with susceptibility to the leprosy (Nature Genetics, Vol. 27, Issue 4, 01 April 2001). The researchers evaluated 224 families from South India and 245 pairs of siblings with leprosy. They searched for polymorphic DNA markers that correlate with the incidence of disease. After zeroing in on chromosome 10, they narrowed the search to a region on the short arm of the chromosome, 10p13. Establishing that susceptibility to leprosy has a major genetic component should hasten the discovery of the gene or genes that underlie the influence of the 10p13 locus.
Dr. Adrian Hill
University of Oxford
Telephone: +44 1865 222 301
Fax: +44 1865 221 921
Dr. William F. Dietrich
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Telephone: +1 (617) 432-6785
Fax: +1 (617) 432-3993 (fax)
Dr. Simon Foote
WEHI, Royal Melbourne Hospital
Telephone: +61 3 9345 2611
Fax: +61 3 9347 0852
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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