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Genes and their regulatory 'tags' conspire to promote rheumatoid arthritis
Date:1/20/2013

ve suppressing the entire immune system, which can have serious side effects," Feinberg says. "The results of this study may allow clinicians to instead directly target the culpable genes and/or their tags."

"Our method allows us to predict which tagging sites are most important in the development of a disease. In this study, we looked for tagging sites under genetic control, but similar tags can be triggered by environmental exposures, like smoking, so there are many applications for this type of work," says Yun Liu, Ph.D., a lead researcher on the project.

The study also may shed light on how evolution works, explains Feinberg. "It seems that natural selection might not simply be selecting for an individual's current fitness level but also for the adaptability of future generations given an unknown future. We think that certain genetic sequences may be biologically beneficial and conserved over time because they increase the amount of variation found in tagging patterns, giving individuals a greater chance of adapting to environmental changes."


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Contact: Catherine Kolf
ckolf@alumni.nd.edu
443-287-2251
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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