MAR 12, 2015 01:51 PM PDT

Genetic Links to Rosacea, Study Finds

WRITTEN BY: Judy O'Rourke
For the first time, researchers have found the chronic, incurable skin condition rosacea has genetic factors.

Mainly affecting skin on the face, its telltale symptoms include flushing and continual redness, noticeable blood vessels, and bumps and pimple-like sores. More than 16 million people in the United States are affected by rosacea, which has no cure--but, its symptoms are treatable.
Rosacea pathology
It is not uncommon for people who have this disease to feel greater sensitivity in the affected area, and many feel a stinging or burning sensation. Flare-ups can heighten feelings of self-consciousness, and a vast percentage of patients say it diminishes their self-esteem.

A genome-wide association study, led by Anne Lynn S. Chang, MD, assistant professor of dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, and co-authored by 23andMe, was recently published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 23andMe Inc, located in the Silicon Valley, is a key personal genetics company.

The research team examined data from more than 46,000 23andMe customers who permitted their personal information to be used for research purposes. They discovered two genetic variants strongly associated with rosacea among people of European ancestry.

"This is another example of how 23andMe can help in researching common yet poorly understood diseases," says Joyce Tung, PhD, director of research, 23andMe, and a co-author of the paper. "The study also speaks to the power of large data sets in studying and identifying genetic associations."

The study is titled "Assessment of the Genetic Basis of Rosacea by Genome-Wide Association Study."
About the Author
  • Judy O'Rourke worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming chief editor of Clinical Lab Products magazine. As a freelance writer today, she is interested in finding the story behind the latest developments in medicine and science, and in learning what lies ahead.
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