Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How genes interact with their environment to cause disease

Date:
February 20, 2010
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A new study reveals how human genes interact with their environment to boost disease risk. The findings shed light on why the search for specific gene variants linked to human diseases can only partly explain common disorders.

A UCLA study reveals how human genes interact with their environment to boost disease risk. Published in the Feb. 18 online edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the findings shed light on why the search for specific gene variants linked to human diseases can only partly explain common disorders.

Related Articles


"We know that genes and environmental factors influence common human diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer," explained principal investigator Jake Lusis, professor of medicine, human genetics and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Most research, however, has focused on unraveling the genetic component of disease risk while ignoring the effect of environmental stimuli. Our study examined how the molecular interaction between the two helps lead to disease."

"Smoking and high cholesterol, for example, each increase a person's risk for heart disease," he said. "But when you add them together, the total risk exceeds its parts. Their interaction creates a dangerous synergy that causes damage beyond what the two can cause independently."

Unlike earlier studies that focused on a single gene, the UCLA team scrutinized the activity of thousands of human genes both at rest and under stress. In particular, the scientists zeroed in on gene expression -- the process by which a gene's DNA sequence is converted into cellular proteins.

Using arteries that surgeons had trimmed from 96 donated hearts prior to organ transplantation, Lusis and his team cultured cells from the inner lining of the blood vessels. To mimic environmental stress, the scientists exposed the cells to fats that incite inflammation and lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Then they looked at the cells' genes and compared their normal expression patterns to their activity under stress.

"The genes responded differently to inflammation depending on their genetic makeup," said first author Casey Romanoski, a UCLA graduate student in human genetics. "About 35 percent of the most affected genes were influenced by the interaction between their genetic variants and the fats."

"You can't effectively study genes divorced from their environment," she added. "The missing link lies in the intersection of genes with their environment."

"Our findings demonstrate that these interactions are important in humans and should be considered in genetic research," said Lusis. "Improving our understanding of the molecular architecture of disease may one day provide us with a new tool for how we address common disorders like cancer, diabetes and heart disease."

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association funded the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "How genes interact with their environment to cause disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218125156.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2010, February 20). How genes interact with their environment to cause disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218125156.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "How genes interact with their environment to cause disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218125156.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins