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The long and winding road from correlation to causation

Follow-up studies of a Crohn's disease risk locus encompassing IRGM have revealed unexpected complexity. A new study shows that a synonymous variant in the IRGM coding region alters a binding site for miR-196 and modulates IRGM-dependent autophagy, adding to the list of possible mechanisms by which this locus influences disease risk.

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Figure 1: Association signals in the 5q33 region from a recently conducted meta-analysis of Crohn's disease.


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I am grateful to the international Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Consortium and T. Pastinen for sharing results. Funding for IBD research at the Unit of Animal Genomics was obtained from the Walloon Region (FEDER, Cibles), the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Communauté Française de Belgique (ARC) and the Police Scientifique Fédérale (IAP).

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Correspondence to Michel Georges.

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Georges, M. The long and winding road from correlation to causation. Nat Genet 43, 180–181 (2011).

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  • Advances in IBD genetics

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