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PhD student Josh publishes genetics and M.E. review

August 04, 2020

One of the two biomedical PhD students we are funding has published a paper looking at genetics and M.E.

Action for M.E.-funded PhD student Joshua Dibble, M.E. patient Simon McGrath and DecodeME Principle Investigator Chris Ponting yesterday published an uncorrected manuscript version of a critical review on the genetic risk factors of M.E./CFS.

In the review, the authors consider existing evidence linking M.E./CFS to genetic factors noting how, so far, independent studies have struggled to identify distinct biomarkers in M.E./CFS patients. Despite the difficulties studies have thus far had in establishing consistent genetic findings, the review notes evidence that M.E. is indeed genetic and hereditary:

“Individuals with a CFS diagnosis (Fukuda or ICD-9 code 780.71 criteria) have a significant excess relatedness over the wider population for both close and distant relatives.”

This review helps to set the scene for the DecodeME study, which will represent a large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) to add significantly to the current body of research on genetic factors in M.E./CFS. A similar study is also set to get underway at the University of Oslo. The authors cite the current need for a GWAS, saying:

“A large GWAS focused on discovering the biomolecular mechanisms of ME/CFS is urgently needed because no study on the genetics of ME/CFS yet has seen results repeated under replication.”

The final version of this review is scheduled to be published in the coming months.