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Understanding why some people have propensity to disease
Date:5/14/2012

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Aside from identical twins, no two individuals are completely identical genetically. Most differences between individuals are due to single nucleotide changes or polymorphisms (SNPs) DNA sequence variations in the genome.

SNPs, the most common type of genetic variation among people, are being increasingly recognized as playing a major role in phenotype variations, such as eye and hair color, basal body weight, muscle tone, responsiveness to alcohol consumption, as well as susceptibility to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and mental disorders.

The more scientists know what SNPs' functions are, the easier it would be to understand the tremendous variability in individuals' responses to drug treatments such as why some drugs are life-saving for some people but cause serious side effects in others.

Frances Sladek, a professor of cell biology and toxicologist at the University of California, Riverside, has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to support a four-year research project that will allow her to examine the effect SNPs have on a special class of proteins called nuclear receptors that bind DNA and regulate the expression of many important genes in response to hormones, vitamins and drugs.

"Many SNPs introduce structural or functional changes in the proteins encoded by genes," explained Sladek, the grant's principal investigator. "Other SNPs, the vast majority, are outside of the protein-coding portion of the gene; they are often found in the regulatory regions of genes regions that determine the level of gene expression. We will charact
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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