Uncovering the genetic link to preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy condition in which a patient develops new-onset high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It typically occurs in the second half of two to seven per cent of all pregnancies.
Unfortunately, there are no reliable predictive tests at present, nor effective treatments, other than delivery of the baby and the placenta.
Preeclampsia has found to be associated with other poor health outcomes for both mother and baby, including the development of cardiovascular disease later in life.
Like many other common human diseases, there is a large genetic involvement in the risk of developing preeclampsia.
Although a number of preeclampsia susceptibility genes have been identified, there remains a missing heritability for preeclampsia and genetic analysis of preeclampsia.
We are continuing the search for preeclampsia susceptibility genes by taking full advantage of recent advances in genomic analysis, including whole genome sequencing of transcriptomics and methylomics.
By using the whole genome sequence of families in the ‘Australian Preeclampsia Genetics Family Study’, we hope to make a breakthrough in preeclampsia research.
Through our research, led by Professor Eric Moses, our goal is to identify functional genetic variants associated with preeclampsia and gain a new understanding of the aetiology of preeclampsia to help identify women at higher risk.