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New genetic risk found for kidney disease

BALTIMORE, May 13 (UPI) -- A team of U.S. and international scientists says it has identified three genes containing mutations associated with altered kidney disease risk.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the Netherlands and Iceland said one of the genes, the UMOD gene, produces Tamm-Horsfall protein, the most common protein in the urine of healthy individuals.

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"Previous research showed that rare mutations in the UMOD gene cause hereditary forms of severe kidney disease," said Dr. Anna Kottgen, a Johns Hopkins scientist and lead author of the study. "Our research indicates that a common genetic variant with a frequency of 18 percent in populations of European ancestry is associated with about 25 percent lower risk of chronic kidney disease."

Dr. Josef Coresh, a Johns Hopkins professor added: "For all three genes the findings are novel and suggest brand new areas for investigation including the need for developing methods to measure levels in urine or blood,"

The findings appear in the journal Nature Genetics.

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