A single gene can either raise or lower Crohn’s disease risk

Comparing the DNA of 5700 Jewish people has identified a gene with two variants – one that lowers a person’s risk of Crohn’s disease, and one that raises it

Screening the DNA of nearly 5700 Jewish people has identified a gene that helps determine a person’s risk of developing Crohn’s disease. Different mutations in the same gene can make someone more likely to get the condition, or help protect them from ever developing it.

Crohn’s disease is the most serious form of inflammatory bowel disease. Current treatments for the condition frequently fail to provide much relief, and people with the disorder often have to have particularly inflamed regions of their gut removed surgically.

But understanding the genetics of the disease could lead to new treatments. Inga Peter, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and her team screened for genes involved in the disorder by studying DNA from Ashkenazi Jews – an ethnic group in which Crohn’s disease is