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Genetic variants linked to increased risk of common gynecological disease
Date:12/12/2010

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"Endometriosis can be a painful and distressing condition that affects a significant number of women in their reproductive years," explains Dr Krina Zondervan, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow at the University of Oxford and the study's Principal Investigator. "We've known for some time that endometriosis is heritable, but until now we have been unable to find any robust genetic variants that influence a woman's risk of developing the disease."

The first is a variant on chromosome 7 believed to be involved in regulating nearby genes, probably those involved in the development of the womb and its lining. The second variant was found on chromosome 1, close to the gene WNT4. This is important for hormone metabolism and the development of the female reproductive tract, especially the ovaries, making it an important biological candidate for involvement in endometriosis.

"Our study is a breakthrough because it provides the first strong evidence that variations in DNA make some women more likely to develop endometriosis," says Dr Zondervan. "We now need to understand the effect of these variations on cells and molecules in the body."

Dr Stephen Kennedy, Head of the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and joint senior author on the paper, adds: "We have great confidence that the results of this study will help towards developing less invasive methods of diagnosis and more effective treatments for endometriosis."


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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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