Chromosome 5: genes involved in asthma and other allergies, Matt Ridley

Interviewee: Matt Ridley. There are more than five chromosomal regions linked with asthma. The relative roles of genes at these locations are not clear, but genes on chromosome 5 and chromosome 20 are promising areas for investigation. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes the lining of a person's airways to swell, tighten and inflame when exposed to different irritants or triggers. (DNAi Location: Genome > Tour > Genome spots > Chromosomes 5 & 20, Asthma > A chromosome 5 story)

Many scientists are searching for the genes involved in asthma and other allergies. One of the candidate genes is here on chromosome 5. But asthma is not going to be a simple matter of finding one gene that causes the disease; it's affected by lots of different genes, and of course it's affected by things that happen in the environment, too, like pollution or other things in our lives. What the genes involved in asthma do is increase the likelihood that we will respond to environmental triggers, or decrease it. The environment and genes are always interacting.

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