Canadian researchers have pinpointed a new gene associated with peanut allergy, offering further evidence that genes play a role in the development of food allergies and opening the door to future research, improved diagnostics and new treatment options.
The gene, called c11orf30/EMSY (EMSY), is already known to play a role in other allergy-related conditions, such as eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. This study is the first to associate the EMSY locus with food allergy, and these findings suggest that the gene plays an important role in the development of not just food allergy but also general allergic predisposition. The findings were published today in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
AllerGen researchers Drs Denise Daley (Associate Professor, The University of British Columbia, Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC) and Ann Clarke (Professor, University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, AB; Adjunct Professor, McGill University, Montreal, QC) led the research.
“Food allergy is the result of both genetic and environmental factors, but there are surprisingly few data regarding the genetic basis of this condition,” says Dr. Daley, a Tier II Canada Research Chair at St. Paul’s in the genetic epidemiology of common complex diseases. “The discovery of this genetic link gives us a fuller picture of the causes of food allergies, and this could eventually help doctors identify children at risk.”