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Who is most likely to carry the genes for celiac disease?

Michael Albertson, MD
Gastroenterology
The genes for celiac disease are mostly found in people of northern European descent. It's rare in people of Chinese, Japanese and sub-Saharan heritage. When people in northern Europe were screened, more people than expected were positive for the DQ2 and DQ8 genes, which are linked to celiac disease. In fact, one person in 150 tested positive for these genes. The researchers found that the prevalence went from 1 in 70 to 1 in 300 in Eastern European countries and in the United States and Italy. They tested 17,000 children in these areas and found that 1 out of 184 children between the ages of 6 and 15 were positive for these genes.

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