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Genetic risk for elevated arsenic toxicity discovered
Date:2/24/2012

ople around the world, and it opens up opportunities for genetic studies of other major public health problems in developing countries."

The researchers genotyped thousands of arsenic-exposed individuals from the group's main studies for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) throughout the genome, and looked for associations with arsenic metabolite levels and risk of skin lesions.

The genetic findings provide strong evidence that efficient metabolism of arsenic through methylation protects against the toxin. Compounds that boost methylation, such as folic acid, could reduce arsenic toxicity a strategy currently being tested by co-author Mary Gamble, PhD, associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"If we could somehow find a way to do that in Bangladesh, it would make individuals much better methylators of arsenic, and as this current study shows if you're a better methylator you're at a lower risk for disease," said co-author Joseph Graziano, PhD, professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of Superfund Research Program at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.

Beyond the clinical applications, the current study demonstrates that large-scale genomic studies are possible in a largely rural population of a developing country. The study offers a rare example of a GWAS result with clear, immediate potential for translational impact.


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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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