A new study seems to demonstrate that immune response is determined by genetic factors.
Until now scientists have underestimated the role of genetics in fighting disease, yet a recent study has offered a new perspective to this question. Someone who suffers from herpes, or is often subject to other types of viruses, may blame their parents. This study is another project in genetic research that offers new and interesting developments for contemporary medicine.
Research into antibodies confirms the importance of genetics for the immune system
The research study that brought about these findings was conducted by the University of Queensland and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Scientists have focused their attention on antibodies that work alongside our organism to fight off viruses and other pathogens. There is now enough evidence to report that genetics play a key role in determining how well the body is able to fight off disease. Effective immune response depends on how the body builds and distributes antibodies and, according to the study, this depends on the genes passed from a person’s mother or father.
The objective of the study: developing new vaccines
Researchers from James Cook University’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine and the University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute analyzed blood samples from 1,835 twins and thousands of their siblings. The twins that participated in the study were recruited as part of the Brisbane Adolescent Twin Sample, a specific study on twins.
The main author of the study, Professor John Miles, said his team of researchers examined the body’s immune response to six common human viruses, including:
the Herpes Virus
the Epstein Barr virus or the Human Herpes Virus 4
the Coxsackie Virus
Professor Miles states that researchers were surprised to learn that the power and efficiency of a person’s immune system is mainly controlled by the genes passed down from their mother or father. These genes determine how intense or weak the immune response is when confronted with virus.According to Professor David Evans, a fellow author of the study, demonstrating that immune response is hereditary is the first step in identifying the individual genes that determine the response and, in the future, correcting eventual weak responses or imitating intense responses in order to develop new vaccines.
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