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August 2004 Issue

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Gout Gene Next Target?

Published August 2004

UC researchers have found evidence of a genetic cause for gout, a disease that leads to inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints.

The scientists, led by Ranajit Chakraborty, PhD, director of the Center for Genome Information in UC's Department of Environmental Health, identified a susceptibility region for the disease on chromosome 4, strong evidence that further research will pinpoint specific gout-causing genes.

Caused by a buildup of uric acid, gout is common among men over 55. Although not a major killer, it's costly in terms of treatment and lost work time.

The findings will appear in the September 2004 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG) and are available online at

Dr. Chakraborty and one of his past graduate students, Li Shu-Chuan Cheng, studied 154 Taiwanese aborigines from 21 multigenerational families, each containing multiple individuals with gout. Their conclusions, they say, can be applied to other populations.

The researchers will now use their data to examine several genes on chromosome 4 for mutations responsible for gout and other complex genetic diseases.

Dr. Chakraborty, Robert A. Kehoe Professor at UC, was part of an international team that in April published more than 21,000 gene transcripts of the human genome.

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