A team of US researchers led by Greek-American Constantine Stratakis, discovered a gene associated with the excessive growth in children, known as gigantism. The team hopes that their discovery may play a significant role in finding a treatment for the disease.
The National Institutes of Health researchers, published their work in the medical journal “New England Journal of Medicine.”
During their research they analyzed the DNA of 43 people with gigantism and made a comparative analysis of their genome. They found a duplication of a short X chromosome region in people who suffer from overgrowth and then attempted to identify which specific gene within this region was responsible for the excessive growth of children with gigantism.
According to their research each patient showed signs of duplication in four genes. The gene which is most likely to cause the disease is called GPR101, since its activity is up to 1,000 times more potent in children with overgrowth, than those with normal development.
“We believe GPR101 is a major regulator of growth. Finding the gene responsible for childhood overgrowth would be very helpful, but the much wider question is what regulates growth,” said Stratakis.
“As pediatricians and endocrinologists, we look at growth as one of the hallmarks of childhood. Understanding how children grow is extraordinarily important, as an indicator of their general health and their future well-being,” added the Greek researcher whose team will investigate the ways that the protein which is dependent on this gene acts within children’s bodies.