The third research area in my lab is the genetics of lymphatic filariasis. Although ~150 million people are infected with the filarial worms W. bancrofti or B. malayi, only a small percentage develop lymphatic filarial pathology. Studies have shown that lymphedema clusters in families independent of environmental factors. Using a candidate gene approach, we have shown that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in VEGF-A are associated with hydrocele. Further work is underway to genotype SNPs of cytokines, chemokines and vascular endothelial growth factors for association with lymphatic filariasis. We are also recruiting a large cohort of volunteers for a genome-wide scan project to identify genes involved in pathology.

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