The Globe and Mail - Team Finds DNA Link Between Ethnicity and Immunity

New York, NY
 – April 17, 2013  –– 

A team of North American scientists has cracked a particularly-complex genetic code that reveals ethnicity may determine how well a person is able to fend off diseases such as HIV or the common flu. The team found certain ethnicities have missing or added DNA links, a factor that could influence immunity to certain diseases, said Corey Watson, one of the team’s 14 researchers. It’s too early to speculate how the findings will effect drugs, vaccines and treatments that have typically been used to treat whole populations, Watson said in a telephone interview from New York, where he does postdoctoral research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Despite the fact that antibodies are essential to our immunity, they haven’t really been studied that much at the genetic level. So one thing our study has done is … set the stage for this to happen,” Watson said. The study of 425 people of Asian, African and European descent was published last month in The American Journal of Human Genetics.
-Dr. Corey Watson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
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