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Which genes in people from different ancestral backgrounds might be linked to MS?

image shows a dna helix
Lead researcher:
Dr Benjamin Jacobs, Prof. Huw Morris, Dr Ruth Dobson
Based at:
Queen Mary University London
MS Society funding:
£71,163.50. Total cost: £284,654. This is Clinical Research Training Fellowship co-funded with the Medical Research Council

Dr Ben Jacobs will look at the genes of people with MS from non-European ancestries, so that we can get a better understanding of MS risk factors. 

About the project

There’s no single gene that will cause someone to develop MS, but we know that having certain variants in certain genes can make a person more susceptible. So far we’ve discovered over 200 regions in our genetic code that are linked to MS.

Read more about genetics and MS

Most of our understanding about genes that contribute to the risk of MS comes from studies with people of White European descent. These risk genes might not be the same for people from non-European ancestries, and there may be other genes within other ancestries that can give us more information about why some people get MS.

This project will recruit a group of people from ethnic minorities in the UK for genetic analysis. The researchers hope to find out whether the genes that contribute to MS risk are the same or different for people of non-European ancestry, with a focus on people from African and South Asian backgrounds.

How will it help people with MS?

By finding genes that might increase the risk of MS in people from diverse ancestral backgrounds, it will help researchers to better understand the condition. It could lead to better treatments, and more personalised care for people with MS, especially those from non-European ancestries.

The difference you can make

Improving our understanding of what causes MS in people from different ancestries will help us move forward towards a better future for everyone with MS.