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The Nation | IN BRIEF / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Mutated Gene Linked to Lactose Tolerance

January 14, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

A genetic mutation allows people to tolerate milk after they leave babyhood and is virtually the same in people of Asian, European and African descent, researchers reported.

Finding the tiny change in the genetic code should allow scientists an easy test for lactose intolerance, a painful digestive condition, the team of U.S. and Finnish researchers said.

Lactose intolerance was known to be genetic, caused by a recessive gene, meaning that a person has to inherit a copy from each parent to be lactose intolerant.

"This is the first time this mutation, the DNA change, is actually identified," said Dr. Leena Peltonen, a UCLA geneticist who led the study.

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