(HealthDay News) – Five new biomarkers for Crohn’s disease (CD) have been identified in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population, according to research published online March 8 in PLoS Genetics.

To examine the genetic variation associated with CD among AJs, Eimear E. Kenny, PhD, of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) comparing DNA samples from 10 AJ cohorts, including 907 cases and 2,345 controls. This was followed by a replication study involving 971 cases and 2,124 controls.

In addition to confirming the significant association of nine known loci and replicating three additional loci, the researchers also identified five novel signals which were mapped to chromosomes 5q21.1 (odds ratio [OR], 1.48), 2p15 (OR, 1.16), 8q21.11 (OR, 1.15), 10q26.3 (OR, 1.27), and 11q12.1 (OR, 1.15). These implicated four plausible candidate genes, including RPL7, CPAMD8, PRG2, and PRG3. In all, 11.2% of the genetic variance for CD risk in the AJ population was accounted for by the replicated and novel loci and NOD2 variants.

“Here, we report the first GWAS for CD in a sizeable increased-risk AJ population. As expected, a significant number of markers previously associated with CD in predominantly non-Jewish European cohorts were also associated with CD risk in the AJ population,” the authors write.

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