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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Study Reveals Major Genetic Differences Between Blood and Tissue Cells

Study Reveals Major Genetic Differences Between Blood and Tissue Cells

New research reveals there may be some critical variations in the DNA of blood versus tissue samples, particularly when it comes to researching and treating disease.

McGill University researchers in Montreal, while searching for a genetic cause for Abdominal Aortic Aneurisms (AAA), found that a gene found in tissue samples did not match perfectly with patients' blood DNA. It all came down to the BAK gene, a gene which controls cell death.

Dr. Bruce Gottlied explains: "In multi-factorial diseases other than cancer, usually we can only look at the blood. Traditionally when we have looked for genetic risk factors for, say, heart disease, we have assumed that the blood will tell us what's happening in the tissue. It now seems this is simply not the case.

"From a genetic perspective, therapeutic implications aside, the observation that not all cells are the same is extremely important. That's the bottom line," he added. "Genome-wide association studies were introduced with enormous hype several years ago, and people expected tremendous breakthroughs. They were going to draw blood samples from thousands or hundreds of thousands of individuals, and find the genes responsible for disease.

"Unfortunately, the reality of these studies has been very disappointing, and our discovery certainly could explain at least one of the reasons why."

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