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May 9, 2008

Scientists Correlate Genetic Variations to Quantities of Proteins in Blood

  • Researchers determined that the levels of a number of key proteins within our blood are under genetic control, showing that diet and lifestyle are not the only factors influencing its makeup.

    The investigators evaluated the role of 496,032 polymorphisms on the levels of 42 proteins. They found that the blood levels of many proteins are under strong genetic control. These proteins include a class of molecules called interleukins.

    As an example, the team identified variations in genes that influence sex hormone binding globulin, a protein that controls how much testosterone is freely available in blood. They also found variations in genes that influence macrophage inflammatory protein beta, a protein that may play a role in influencing how likely it is that people with HIV infection will go on to develop AIDS.

    The findings are the result of an international collaboration between scientists at the University of Exeter, the National Institute on Aging, and the Tuscany and Florence Health Agencies. Details are published May 9th in PLoS Genetics.

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