Scientists have identified “sequence variations” in DNA which affect personal levels of thyroid hormones,a finding that they claim could lead to the detection of people who are most at risk of related diseases.
An international team,led by Prof Scott Wilson of the University of Western Australia,says since genetic variations were present in more than one in four people examined,there may be a potential role for screening as part of wider program of personalised genomic medicine.
“This would allow us to identify individuals who are most at risk of thyroid-related disease,” he said.
Thyroid hormones act on almost every tissue in the body,affecting basal metabolic rate,protein synthesis,fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
The team carried out a genome-wide association study of 2,031 female twins and identified the most common DNA variants in their genes. This was from a total of 2,120,505 possible variations that could be responsible for conferring different levels of thyroid hormone.
To confirm their findings,the scientists then tested 1,154 people from the Busselton Health Study in Western Australia,the results of which have been published in ‘The American Journal of Human Genetics’.