For individuals who have hereditary hemochromatosis—including about 0.5% of the US white population—buildup of iron in the body caused by aberrant iron metabolism can cause severe organ damage and other health problems. Scientists have identified hemochromatosis-related mutations in some of the genes involved in iron metabolism, but not all genes or mutations that underlie this condition are known.
Now, however, a team of researchers from the Netherlands has identified a new gene that, when mutated, can cause this relatively common disorder. The new findings were reported in the July issue of Nature Genetics.
Stephenson J. Hemochromatosis Clue. JAMA. 2001;286(6):663. doi:10.1001/jama.286.6.663-JWM10007-3-1