The Allergy Gene
How a mutation in a skin protein revealed a link between eczema and asthma.
It was a tense Friday afternoon in October 2005. Four of us in the lab had been working furiously that week in the fear that our results would be scooped at any moment. (It was an unfounded worry, but we had no way of knowing that at the time.) We had recently found the first mutation in a gene associated with a relatively common skin disease, but our results didn’t fully make sense, and we suspected there must be a second mutation hidden in this gene. A second mutation might explain the strange genetic patterns we had seen in affected families, and it also seemed to hint at a much bigger story.