Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scientists claim peanut allergy 'gene flaw' link

PeanutsA gene defect that can triple the risk of a child developing an allergy to peanuts has been identified, scientists have said.

An international research team led by Dundee University said it had made a "significant breakthrough" in understanding the disease.

The gene responsible - Filaggrin - has already been shown to be a factor in causing eczema and asthma.

Peanut allergy affects 1-2% of children in the UK and can be life-threatening.

The number of people affected by the condition has increased dramatically over the past 20 to 30 years, the Dundee team said - but the causes of the allergy are unknown.

Dr Sara Brown, a fellow at Dundee University, said investigating whether Filaggrin was a cause of peanut allergy was the "logical next step" after a link with eczema and asthma had been established.

Allergy 'barrier'

"Allergic conditions often run in families, which tells us that inherited genetic factors are important," she said.

"In addition to that, changes in the environment and our exposure to peanuts are thought to have been responsible for the recent increase in peanut allergy seen in the Western world in particular.

"Now, for the first time, we have a genetic change that can be firmly linked to peanut allergy." ...

via BBC News - Scientists claim peanut allergy 'gene flaw' link.

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