The term genes / environment interaction seems to be the buzz phrase at the moment. Here is another Canadian researcher looking at the issue. Professor Ebers is another Canadian MS researcher looking at genes - his project which is being funded by the UK MS Society should finish at the end of the year. Details in the link provided below this article.
Scientist outlines genetics, MS link
As a teenager, Dessa Sadovnick screened Disney movies in an empty classroom to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. Now the University of British Columbia geneticist spends her time studying the disease.
"My involvement with MS has gone back since before I was born, and it seemed like a natural evolution to just go on and study MS as I got older."
Ms. Sadovnick spoke of the connection between genetics and multiple sclerosis at the MS research luncheon Thursday in Halifax. She has been involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada since a friend, Evelyn Opal, co-founded the organisation.
Multiple sclerosis recurs more often in families than in the general population, her study found. If a sibling has multiple sclerosis, you are 15 to 25 times more likely to develop it yourself.
Identical twins have identical DNA. There is a 34 per cent chance both twins will develop multiple sclerosis, according to the study. But there is only a 5.2 per cent chance that both fraternal twins — who only share half their DNA — will get the disease.
"It really indicates that genetics are important," Ms. Sadovnick said.
Atlantic Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in Canada, according to research published by the MS Society. Genetics could play a role in this, Ms. Sadovnick said.
"There are so many people who are interrelated in the Maritimes that probably this increased risk is because people are sharing genetic material," she said.
But the genes involved in causing MS have not yet been identified. It is difficult to identify specific genes because they interact with environmental factors as well, the geneticist said.
Ms. Sadovnick compared the search for genetic causes to a road map. "With gene mapping the big general maps have been done (but) we still have a lot more work to do before we can pinpoint the exact genes involved."
The research that Ms. Sadovnick is doing is getting us closer to curing the 5,000 Atlantic Canadians living with multiple sclerosis, said Sarah Cowan, from the society’s Atlantic division.
Source: TheChronicleHerald.ca © 2006 The Halifax Herald Limited
http://www.mssociety.org.uk/research/re ... ebers.html