Researchers have discovered new risk genes for hay fever in the largest genetic study on this type of allergy.
Data on allergic rhinitis from 891,367 European participants in more than 30 studies were studied by researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood. The findings were published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics.
“The scope of the study has allowed us to learn more about the allergy, and it has only been possible with the help of many other research groups from around the world,” co-author Dr. Klaus Bonnelykke, clinical research associate professor at University of Copenhagen, said in a press release. “The risk genes we have mapped can help us understand what causes hay fever. And in the longer term this will be helpful when it comes to developing drugs and better treatments for the allergy.” . . .
“Genes are very important, and twin studies show that in more than half of sufferers, the allergy is caused by genetics,” said co-author Dr. Klaus Bonnelykke, also a clinical research associate professor at University of Copenhagen. “We can also see that a great many cases must be due to environmental factors, since the number of people with hay fever has increased over the past 100 years. … It takes tens of thousands of years for genetic makeups to change.”