Image © Nature
 MUTATION AND TRUNCATION: These DNA sequence electropherograms show a patient from "family 7" who is homozygous for a cytosine c insertion, as indicated by the arrow. The mutation encodes a truncated NOD2 protein. (Reprinted with permission from Nature, 411:603-6, 2001.)

After years of failed promises that researchers would find genes linked to cancers, heart disease, and other complex human ailments, two independent research teams, using different approaches, localized a gene on human chromosome 16 that increases susceptibility to Crohn disease. One team was led by Gilles Thomas, Fondation Jean Dausset-CEPH, Paris; the other was led by Gabriel Nuñez, University of Michigan Medical School, and Judy Cho, University of Chicago Hospitals. The scientists described these 2001 discoveries in back-to-back Nature papers, two of this issue's three Hot Papers.1,2

The Nuñez team, using a classical candidate gene approach, discerned that the NOD2 gene, which plays a role...

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