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Largely misunderstood, many genes have been implicated in causing scoliosis. The gene that causes this genetic condition has now been pinpointed by researchers at the University of Montreal as POC5.

Scoliosis affects more than 7 million Americans, and while 20 percent of the cases stem from a mix of tumors, trauma, or neurological dysfunction, the cause is unknown in upwards of 80 percent of patients.

POC5, the gene newly discovered for being responsible for scoliosis, brings hope. “This crucial first step will open the door to future studies that will identify the complementary genes and pathways that play a role in scoliosis in other populations,” says Dr. Pierre Drapeau, professor, and director of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at the University of Montreal.

As defined by the ACA, scoliosis is a curvature in the spine of no less than 10 degrees. It appears in children between the ages of 10 and 15, mostly in girls.

Dr. Drapeau adds that while the cause of scoliosis may not be completely solved, researchers are getting a better sense of what questions to ask.

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