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  • An international study find genetic links to allergies

    Author: AAP

A major study, which will be released in Brisbane, has identified genetic risks and links between the three most common allergies: asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Genetic risks and links between asthma, hay fever and eczema have been identified in an international study, which analysed the genomes of 360,838 people.

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The study, to be released by Dr Manuel Ferreira at Brisbane's QIMR Berghofer complex on Tuesday, was the first to explore the three most common allergic conditions.

After working with collaborators from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US, 136 genetic risk factors, which indicate a predisposition to developing the allergies, were found.

The identified risks, which were found in genomes, influenced whether 132 genes were switched on or off.


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"We think that these genes influence the risk of asthma, hay fever and eczema by affecting how the cells of the immune system work," Dr Ferreira said.

"For example, we found one gene - called PITPNM2 - that is more likely to be switched off in people who smoke. If this gene is switched off, then the risk of developing allergies increases."

About 2.5 million people across Australia suffer from asthma and about 4.5 million from hay fever, according to 2014-2015 statistics.

Dr Ferreira and researchers have also found drugs they believe could target the genes and treat allergies, and may begin testing them in a laboratory.


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