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Scientists pinpoint inflammation gene

als with a greater propensity than others for obesity and diabetes, as well as the inflammation associated with those conditions. ChemGenex researchers found that the obese and diabetic sand rats exhibited a different pattern of a previously undiscovered gene, which is now known to be SEPS1. Given the results in animals, the SFBR-led team was brought in to determine whether this gene is relevant to inflammation in humans.

Blangero, who designed the study, first teamed up with Kissebah and the large-scale, family-based study Kissebah leads with TOPS members. This study population is largely of Northern European ancestry and has a high incidence of diabetes and obesity.

Scientists worked with 522 individuals from 92 families in the TOPS program, sequencing their entire SEPS1 gene and identifying all the genetic variations among individuals. These molecular genetic analyses were performed at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and directed by Curran and Dr Jeremy Jowett.

Back in San Antonio, researchers used novel statistical methods developed by Blangero and other SFBR scientists to sift through this information and predict which of these genetic variants was most likely to have a direct effect on inflammation. For this effort, they relied on 1,500 parallel processors in the foundation's SBC Genomics Computing Center. An unparalleled resource for genetic analysis, the center enabled an otherwise too-time-consuming comprehensive analysis to eliminate scientific "guesswork" on which variants ought to be investigated in the laboratory.

The statistical analysis identified one particular variant in the SEPS1 gene a variation in the gene's promoter region, which regulates SEPS1 expression as the most important factor among the individuals with the highest levels of inflammation.

This allowed an Australian research team at Deakin University led by ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals to conduct laborato
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Source:Medical College of Wisconsin


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