Amish Country is probably the last place one would think of genomic R and D activity, but not so.  Here’s a post from July of 2008.  The original study focused on locating deadly genetic diseases, but out of the study came a mutation that could lead to development of new types of medications to lower cholesterol if the new drugs could mimic the effect of this mutation which could lead to potential alternatives to statins down the road. 

Those with the mutation produced half the normal amount of apoC-III and had the lowest blood triglyceride levels - seemingly because they could break down more fat.  What is fascinating too is that they have been able to track the origin of the gene back to the 1700s and the chances of the rest of us having this gene are pretty slim.  BD 

Opting Out – Mennonites and Amish Face rising hospital bills

Good story from the Wall Street Journal showing how the communities are now welcoming health care assistance, but on the other hand, what is the impact on the community.  Community members don’t have a problem paying bills, but they want a fair bill that is reasonable.  Watch the story from the video for the full details. 

Now they have genetics research going on within the communities to help save their children who have high rates of some rare genetic diseases.  It is far fetched to even think the communities would travel abroad for help.  Dr. Morton has moved in to the community to help.  THEY HAVE GENE SEQUENCING MACHINES! 

A gene mutation which protects the heart against a high-fat diet has been found in the Amish population. Researchers found 5% of the US Amish population in Lancaster, Pennsylvania have a mutation in a protein which breaks down fatty particles. Those with the mutation had higher levels of "good" HDL-cholesterol and lower levels of "bad" LDL-cholesterol, the journal Science reported.

They found a mutation in the APOC3 gene, which encodes a protein - apoC-III - that inhibits the breakdown of triglycerides.

The researchers believe the mutation was first introduced into the Amish community in Lancaster County by a person who was born in the mid-1700s.

It appears to be rare or absent in the general population.

BBC NEWS | Health | Amish gene 'limits heart disease


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