Gene knockouts in people provide drug safety, effectiveness clues | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


News

Gene knockouts in people provide drug safety, effectiveness clues

Study in Pakistanis provides data on function-destroying mutations

By
1:00pm, April 12, 2017
Pakistan map

DNA INVESTIGATION  Geneticists examined DNA from more than 10,000 people in Pakistan looking for people in whom both copies of certain genes were nonfunctional. High rates of marriage between closely related people there make it more likely that people will inherit two nonfunctional gene copies.

Some Pakistani people are real knockouts, a new DNA study finds. Knockouts in this sense doesn’t refer to boxing or a stunning appearance, but to natural mutations that inactivate, or “knock out” certain genes. The study suggests that human knockouts could prove valuable evidence for understanding how genes work and for developing drugs.

Among 10,503 adults participating in a heart disease study in Pakistan, 1,843 people have at least one gene of which both copies have been knocked out, researchers report online April 12 in Nature. Researchers also drew blood from many of the participants and used medical records to study more than 200 traits, such as heart rate, blood pressure and blood levels of sugar, cholesterol, hormones or other substances. Studying how the knockout mutations affect those traits and health could point to genes that are potentially safe and effective targets for

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content