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A team from the University of Michigan looked for the gene -- called PSORS1 -- in more than 2,700 people from 678 families in which at least one family member had psoriasis.
According to the researchers, PSORS1 is the first genetic determinant of psoriasis to be definitively identified in a large clinical trial. The finding may help in the development of new, more effective treatments for the disfiguring inflammatory skin disease.
To develop psoriasis, people must inherit several disease-related genes and also be exposed to one or more environmental triggers, such as a strep infection, the researchers noted.
"For every individual with psoriasis who carries the PSORS1 gene, there are 10 other people with the gene who don't get psoriasis," study director Dr. James T. Elder, a professor of dermatology and of radiation oncology, said in a prepared statement.