Institute of Genetics and Cancer
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Gene study prompts bowel disease rethink

Researchers findings may prompt a rethink in the way inflammatory bowel diseases are categorised and diagnosed: October 2015

Inflammatory bowel diseases represent a spectrum of disorders rather than distinct conditions, the results of a major genetic study suggest.

Researchers investigating genetic variation in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis found that many of the gene variants linked to these conditions are shared.

Their findings may prompt a rethink in the way inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are categorised and diagnosed, the researchers say.

International study

The team - which included researchers from the Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine at the IGMM - analysed genetic information and clinical records from more than 30,000 people with IBD.

They found a few differences in genetic make-up to distinguish between patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Subtle genetic differences were also associated with whereabouts in the bowel the disease occurred - whether in the small or large intestine.

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