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Gene linked to preterm birth among Hispanic women
Date:2/2/2008

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that the gene ENPP1 is linked to preterm birth and low birth weight among Hispanic women.

Errol Norwitz, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, will present preliminary results from this research at the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting on February 2 in Dallas, Texas.

One out of eight babies in the United States is born prematurelydelivery prior to 37 weeks gestation. These babies dont fare as well as their full-term counterparts, especially if they are born prior to 28 weeks gestation. In many cases, it is still unclear why preterm births occur, but Norwitz said that both the genetic make-up of the mother and the genetic make-up of the baby play a role.

Norwitz and his collaborators sought to understand the mechanisms responsible for the onset of labor at term and how these mechanisms are either overwhelmed or short-circuited, leading to preterm birth. Some women, especially African-American women, are genetically pre-disposed to preterm births, even after taking into account socioeconomic status, demographics, underlying medical conditions and multiple pregnancies. Norwitz said that multiple genes or a single particular genetic variantsingle nucleotide polymorphismmay be involved.

In his study, Norwitz and colleagues tried to tease out some of the genetic factors that are important for preterm birth. They isolated DNA in blood samples from a largely Hispanic population of mothers with a history of preterm birth and compared them to the DNA of women who had only had full-term pregnancies. They then screened the DNA for 128 different genetic variations in 77 candidate genes. While these genetic variants have been known to cause clinical disorders, no one had ever investigated them in the context of preterm birth before.

Four polymorphisms were associated with premature birth, butto
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Contact: Karen N. Peart
karen.peart@yale.edu
203-432-1326
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

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