In the largest genetics study of its kind, researchers from around the world as part of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) have identified an additional 48 genetic variants which may influence the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. This work nearly doubles the number of known genetic risk factors, bringing the total to 110, and underlines the role that the immune system plays in the development of MS.Published online September 29 in the journal Nature Genetics, the study, “Analysis of immune-related loci identifies 48 new susceptibility variants for multiple sclerosis,” represents the work of an international team of 193 investigators from 84 research groups in 13 countries. The study, which was led by Jacob McCauley, Ph.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was funded by more than 40 agencies and foundations, including the Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health, and the National MS Society.
Researchers used sophisticated genotyping technology known as ImmunoChip which was specifically designed to target a select set of genetic variants linked to one or more autoimmune diseases. IMSGC researchers used the ImmunoChip platform to analyze the DNA from 29,300 individuals with multiple sclerosis and 50,794 unrelated healthy control without MS. In addition to identifying 48 new genetic variants, the study confirmed and further refined a similar number of previously identified genetic associations.
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International Research Consortium Identifies 48 New Genetic Variants Associated with MS Risk