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GOFA: Advancing food allergy research through omics sciences – Genetics of Food Allergy Study

Prof. Dr. Young-Ae Lee, Dr. Aleix Arnau Soler
Molecular Genetics of Chronic Inflammation and Allergic Disease, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC), Berlin-Buch

Food allergies and other allergic diseases (e. g. eczema, asthma, hay fever) are a growing health problem. According to The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) up to 15% of school children and adolescents in Spain are affected, with a third of the patients suffering from a combination of several allergic diseases. It is well-known that children of allergic parents have a much higher risk of developing allergies than children of non-allergic parents.

Many studies demonstrated that heredity (genetics) plays an important role in the development of allergic diseases. However, very little is known about the genes causing food allergy. In contrast to other complex diseases for which there are extremely large study cohorts of hundreds of thousands of individuals with available phenotype and genotype data (e.g. UK Biobank), phenotype data on food allergies is generally unavailable in such cohorts and current genomic cohorts are limited to only hundreds of individuals.

The aim of this study is to find and further investigate hereditary factors that contribute to the development of food allergy and other allergic diseases (e.g. eczema, asthma, hay fever) at the population level.