Genetic link to infant leukaemia

Babies who develop leukaemia in their first few years of life seem to inherit a rare combination of genes from their parents.

Researchers, lead by paediatric oncologist Todd Druley, sequenced the DNA in the healthy cells of 23 infants with leukaemia, and their mothers. Through a process of elimination, researchers then worked out what genes the father had given the children. They compared this to the DNA of another 25 healthy babies.

The study found the infants with leukeamia inherited an unlikely sequence of genetic variants from both their parents, which put the infant at high risk for the disease.

Researchers are hopeful the findings could be used to develop a technique to “cut” the faulty genes from infants’ DNA before they develop the condition.

Read more at Washington University