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Case Western Reserve University uncovers genetic basis for some birth defects
Date:11/10/2008

said Landreth. "This work sheds light on how these developmental errors occur."

Remarkably, Dr. Sulagna Saitta, a human geneticist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia had identified children who had comparable heart defects as well as subtle facial differences. These children were all missing a very small region of chromosome 22 that contained the ERK2 gene.

Saitta agreed that the similarity in the anatomic structures affected in the mice and those in the patients who have lost one copy of this gene suggest that ERK2 and its pathway members are essential for normal development and might lead to these birth defects. These findings link together several distinct syndromes that are each characterized by cardiac and craniofacial abnormalities and show that they can result from perturbations of the ERK cascade.

Landreth and his team will take these findings back to the lab and find out exactly why cells need ERK2 during embryogenesis.


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Contact: Christina Thompson
christina.a.thompson@case.edu
216-368-3635
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert  

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