Genes responsible for peanut allergies, study suggests


Canadian researchers have established that genes play a significant role in the development of food allergies and common allergy disposition. This knowledge has opened new doors to further research, and improvement in areas of allergy diagnosis as well as treatment.

The gene, known as EMSY, plays a role in allergies like eczema and asthma. With the new study, EMSY was found to be associated with food allergy for the very first time. The study was published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The research was led by Dr. Denise Daley. Food allergy could happen due to both genetic and environmental factors. There is a very little data available as far as genetic basis of allergy is concerned. The discovery of this genetic clue helps would help scientists to understand food allergies better and help doctors identify allergy risk in children.

Symptoms of allergy to peanut develops at an early age and rarely known to outgrow. Nearly 2-3& of children and roughly 1% of adults in Canada are affected by this allergy.


For this study, researchers studied DNA of 850 people with peanut allergy and 1000 individuals without peanut allergy. The team searched for clues as to which genes contribute to the development of food allergies.

It was found that EMSY is involved in increasing the risk of both peanut allergy and food allergies.

Co-author of the paper, Dr. Yuka Asai said that it was previously published by their team that a defect in filaggrin gene increases the risk of development of peanut allergy in children.

According to Dr. Eslami, it is difficult to identify new treatments for food allergies as we do not have sufficient information about the specific genes and pathways that have to be targeted. The study pointed out that EMSY could be successfully used in the treatment of food allergies in near future.