Genetics of a Peanut Allergy

Published by Luke Morais on

Genetics of a Peanut Allergy


What is a Peanut Allergy?

Peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of severe food allergy attacks. For some people with peanut allergy, even tiny amounts of peanuts can cause a serious reaction that can even be life-threatening.

An allergic response to peanuts usually occurs within minutes after exposure. Peanut allergy signs and symptoms can include:

  • Skin reactions, such as hives, redness or swelling
  • Itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat
  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting
  • Tightening of the throat
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Runny nose

Peanut allergy has been increasing in children. Even if you or your child has had only a mild allergic reaction to peanuts, it’s important to talk to your doctor. There is still a risk of a more serious future reaction.


How was the research done?

Researchers want to study why some people are allergic to peanuts and others are not. First, they will look at the genes in the HLA region of the genome of people who are allergic and people who are not. This specific region is thought to be important in peanut allergy reactions. They hope to find genes that are more common in people who are allergic, so doctors can use this information to diagnose and prevent peanut allergies. Then, they will do a study to find any other genes that might cause peanut allergies. Finally, they will look at how these genes are turned on or off in people who are allergic and people who are not. 


What is the significance of this study?

Researchers don’t know much about why some kids are allergic to peanuts and others are not. With this study, they hope to find out if certain genes are more common in kids who are allergic to peanuts. This can help them understand why peanut allergies happen or if there are new genes linked to peanut allergies. Which could potentially help find new ways to prevent or treat them.