Researchers identify genes that increase children's risk of blood infection

Although researchers know differences in genes are factors in who develops serious diseases, many of the genetic links associated with a specific disease are still unknown. New research conducted by a team from the University of Oxford in the U.K. identified genes in children that increase their risk of bacteraemia, a deadly blood infection that can lead to complications for millions worldwide.

After reviewing DNA samples from more than 4,500 children from Kenya, where bacteraemia is more common, the researchers were able to identify two genes associated with greater susceptibility to the infection. They also found an overlap with Streptococcus bacteria, which infects, which affects more than 14 million children annually. This link means that children with the genes carry a doubled risk of developing a blood infection if they contract strep.

The study is one of only a handful of large genetic studies looking at a population with African ancestry, and provides clues that will aid in the development of new techniques for combating disease, according to the authors. 

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