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Study Identifies TB Gene

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Study Identifies TB Gene

Wellington, Aug 17 NZPA - An international study, partly supervised by a University of Otago professor, has successfully used genome scanning to identify a gene associated with vulnerability to tuberculosis (TB) in African populations.

Tuberculosis still affects a third of the world's population, killing more than two million yearly.

The researchers scanned 333,000 genome sequence variants in more than 11,000 people in Africa. The work involved providing DNA samples from TB cases and control cases.

University of Otago centre for international health director Professor Philip Hill oversaw the study's arm in Gambia, in West Africa.

Genetics was known to be important in determining whether someone's exposure to the bacteria M. tuberculosis would lead them to develop the disease, Prof Hill said.

The finding provided a glimpse of where future research might lead and identifying genetic variants could help with breakthroughs in understanding the relationship between humans and the disease.

"If you are closely related to a TB patient and have the same amount of exposure to M. tuberculosis as someone else with no such relatives, then over your lifetime you're more likely to develop TB disease than they are," Prof Hill said.

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