April 14, 2014
Genetic basis for gout studied
University of Otago researchers believe the high rate of gout among Maori and Pacific people may be related to evolutionary changes protecting against malaria.
One in eight Maori men suffer from the arthritic joint disease, three times as many as Pakeha.
Biochemist Tony Merriman says lifestyle and environment, including diet, only account for 40 percent of what causes gout, with genetics accounting for the rest,
His team is looking into whether Maori and Pacific peoples' high uric acid levels may result from an evolutionary change in their ancestors' genes thousands of years ago to protect them against the mosquito-born infection malaria in the places they moved through on their way into Polynesia.
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