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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Genetic links to osteoarthritis found

3rd July 2012

Researchers have found eight new gene variants which are associated with osteoarthritis after comparing the DNA of thousands of people.

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The research, which was published in The Lancet, drew comparisons between the DNA of 7,400 people in the UK with osteoarthritis against 11,000 people who did not have the disease.

This allowed the researchers to zone in on the most likely "culprit" areas of the code for further study.

The team then looked at the DNA of 43,000 people without the condition from the UK, Netherlands, Estonia and Iceland, and compared it to 7,500 people with the disease.

They found eight gene variants associated with osteoarthritis and confirmed three more which had previously been identified as linked to the condition.

The study found the gene variant near the GNL3 gene, which makes a protein involved in maintaining cells,  had the "strongest effect".

One of the lead scientists, John Loughlin, who is professor of musculoskeletal research at Newcastle University, said: "We know that osteoarthritis runs in families and that this is due to the genes that people pass on, rather than their shared environment."

"In this study we were able to say with a high degree of confidence which genetic regions are the major risk factors for developing osteoarthritis: the first time that this has been possible for this common yet complex disease. It's an important first step." 


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