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Scripps Researchers Use DNA To Explore Mystery Of Sudden Death

Photo caption:

Photo credit: M Pinarci via Compfight

An illustration of a DNA strand.

Doctors say one of the most baffling medical mysteries is a sudden unexplained death. Researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute are launching a three-year study that will use genetic sequencing to solve these mysteries.

Genetic sequencing has been used to identify mutations linked to various diseases.

The new Scripps Translational Science Institute study will use DNA sequencing to try to identify the genes associated with sudden death.

Institute Director Eric Topol said 80 percent of the autopsies in people who suffer a sudden unexplained death are inconclusive.

“So we really have a great opportunity to unravel what happened, and provide that explanation to the family," Dr. Topol explained. "And it benefits, at a much larger scale, the whole causes of sudden death in the public.”

Scripps plans to sequence the genome of 100 victims of sudden death and their family members over the next three years.

The deceased must be 45 years old or younger, and not have a history of heart disease or drug abuse.

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