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(sci/tech) Down's Syndrome Theory Shattered

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posted on Oct, 22 2004 @ 12:11 AM
Down's Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is characterized by three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two. It was previously thought that a single region called DSCR (Down's Syndrome Critical Region) was solely responsible for the cranial and facial features observed in people affected by the syndrome. Recent research on engineered mice at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine shows that the syndrome is much more complicated. The extra 163 genes of Trisomy 21 can affect any of the genes affecting growth and development. Therefore, its the interaction of DSCR genes with other genes that is responsible for the syndrome.
Scientists believe they have disproved a 30-year-old notion of what causes Down's syndrome.

A particular genetic region long assumed to be a critical factor in this condition is not as important as thought, says the Johns Hopkins team.

The US researchers studied mice engineered to have the 'culprit' genes believed to be responsible for causing Down's syndrome.

They told the journal Science that the cause was much more complicated.

Conflicting results

They believe Down's syndrome arises from an interplay of complex genetic and developmental factors.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

A lot of research will be needed to find a cure for such a complex syndrome. It is great news that they disproved the notion of Down's Syndrome being caused by a single gene. Taking into consideration the fact that Down's Syndrome occurs in around 1/700 births, a finding such as this will lead the researchers, who are trying to treat Down's Syndrome, to head into a right direction.

As Dr. Reeves says, "If anyone is going to try to treat the problems seen in Down's syndrome, we need to understand what is really happening and when in development it happens."(Link)
"You can't look at any of this in isolation. You can't just look at one gene at a time. We need to be looking at the whole developing system."(Link)

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[edit on 22-10-2004 by jp1111]


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