• The complex genetics of IBD gets… more complex!

    As I discussed last time, changes in our DNA have been shown to make a person more likely to develop IBD. Over the past 20 years many areas of our genetic make-up (our genome) have been linked with IBD. However, although technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, the precise locations of most of these DNA changes are still unknown. Up until now, only ‘common’ differences in relatively large areas of the genome of people with and without IBD have been studied closely. However, recent research (which includes children from the UK – “it could be you!”) has looked at changes which occur less frequently in the general population.

    This enormous study looked really closely at differences in the over 50 specific areas of the genome in 350 patients with IBD and 350 healthy people. They then went on to ‘double-check’ their findings in over 45,000(!) people. They got some really interesting results, finding new differences in old genes (such as NOD2 – see last month’s blog entry) and some exciting differences in unexpected places.

    Altogether this study will really help us understand some of the ways in which changes in our DNA could lead to changes in the bowel and subsequently IBD – which can only be a positive thing!

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