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Genes Responsible for Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis Identified

Findings could improve efficacy of current treatments, lead to discovery of new drug targets

digestive system

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've come closer to pinpointing genes linked with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. The research was published online June 28 in Nature.

The investigators examined the genomes of 67,852 individuals. Of the regions of the genome associated with IBD, 18 could be traced to a single genetic variant with more than 95 percent certainty.

"We have taken the biggest ever data set for IBD and applied careful statistics to narrow down to the individual genetic variants involved," coauthor Jeffrey Barrett, Ph.D., from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Headington, U.K., said in an institute news release. "Now we have a clearer picture of which genes do and do not play a role in the disease. We are zooming in on the genetic culprits of IBD."

The findings could lead to improved effectiveness of current treatments for IBD, as well as the discovery of new drug targets, the study authors said.

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