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If Air Gets Scarce New Gene Causes Asthma In Children

Usually harmless external stimuli like animal hair, pollen and house dust cause a life endangering narrowing of the bronchi in asthma patients. An international team of scientists headed by researchers from the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU), Munich, and Oxford University, UK, have now been able to identify a gene that clearly increases the risk for asthma in childhood.

Dr. Thomas Illig, head of the working group Molecular Epidemiology at the GSF National Research Centre for Environment and Health in Neuherberg, near Munich, has also been involved in this large-scale study. The team examined over 300,000 genetic marker in thousands of asthmatic children and compared their data with those of healthy controls. The newly found gene, ORMDL3, is a promising object of research: it could help to improve the prevention and diagnosis of asthma, and possibly to develop a new therapy.


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