Cold sores linked to a specific gene

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By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog

Cold sores plague some people and not others even though about 70% of Americans are infected with the virus that causes the painful lesions — herpes simplex virus. Now researchers have a plausible explanation for the seeming randomness of cold sore outbreaks.

A study looking at 43 families has identified a specific gene on chromosome 21 linked to herpes. Previous studies suggested that a gene somewhere on chromosome 21 was the culprit. But the new study was able to pinpoint a gene called C21orf91 as the major player in cold sore tendencies.

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Kells Hetherington