Gene causing stunted growth in children responsible for other growth disorders
Posted Jun 01 2012 4:10am
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles in the USA have identified a geneticRelating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material.mutationA change in the genetic material (DNA) of a cell, or the change this this causes in a characteristic of the individual, which is not caused by normal genetic processes. responsible for rare disorders responsible for both stunted growth and fast growth in children. The same genetic mutation is the cause of two growth development disorders, IMAGe syndrome where growth is restricted in the wombThe uterus. and leads to slow growth and adrenal insufficiences; and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, a condition leading to overgrowth of children from birth onwards and is usually associated with cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..
The researchers hope that the discovery of this gene could be used to prevent rapid and uncontrolled cellThe basic unit of all living organisms. division in tumours. They also propose to use genetic screeningA way to identify people who may have a certain condition, among a group of people who may or may not seem to to “…diagnose children early enough for them to benefit from medical intervention.”
Children suffering from both IMAGe syndrome and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome have a short life expectancy for opposing reasons; as such, the researchers are surprised to find that the same gene is responsible for both conditions. The finding has been the culmination of twenty years of research and provides hope for families with this genetic mutation in their inheritance.