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Clin Mol Allergy. 2009 May 6;7:7. doi: 10.1186/1476-7961-7-7.

Genetics of asthma: a molecular biologist perspective.

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  • 1Molecular Immunogenetics Laboratory, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology Mall Road, Delhi-110007, India.


Asthma belongs to the category of classical allergic diseases which generally arise due to IgE mediated hypersensitivity to environmental triggers. Since its prevalence is very high in developed or urbanized societies it is also referred to as "disease of civilizations". Due to its increased prevalence among related individuals, it was understood quite long back that it is a genetic disorder. Well designed epidemiological studies reinforced these views. The advent of modern biological technology saw further refinements in our understanding of genetics of asthma and led to the realization that asthma is not a disorder with simple Mendelian mode of inheritance but a multifactorial disorder of the airways brought about by complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Current asthma research has witnessed evidences that are compelling researchers to redefine asthma altogether. Although no consensus exists among workers regarding its definition, it seems obvious that several pathologies, all affecting the airways, have been clubbed into one common category called asthma. Needless to say, genetic studies have led from the front in bringing about these transformations. Genomics, molecular biology, immunology and other interrelated disciplines have unearthed data that has changed the way we think about asthma now. In this review, we center our discussions on genetic basis of asthma; the molecular mechanisms involved in its pathogenesis. Taking cue from the existing data we would briefly ponder over the future directions that should improve our understanding of asthma pathogenesis.

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