Geneticist seeks cause of Bile disease in Whanau

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A Dunedin geneticist is trying to isolate a gene he believes could be responsible for the prevalence of a rare liver disease in a Bay of Plenty whanau.

Stephen Robertson has previously tracked down a rogue gene which was leading to the deaths of boys in a far North whanau … in the process dispelling the family’s belief it was cursed by a makutu or spell.

He says his current project focuses on biliary atresia, where children are born without bile ducts.

Biliary atresia occurs among Maori at three times the rate of non-Maori.

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