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Sickle cell gene linked to elevated risk of developing kidney failure

New research indicates that being born with one copy of the sickle gene puts an individual at elevated risk for developing kidney failure requiring dialysis. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), may have important public policy implications for genetic counseling for individuals with sickle cell trait (SCT).

Sickle cell trait, a common hemoglobin variant in African Americans, is associated with a twofold higher risk of developing kidney failure requiring dialysis, concludes a team of researchers. Sickle cell trait conferred a similar degree of risk as APOL1 gene variants, which are currently the most widely recognized genetic contributors to kidney disease in blacks.