IMAGE DESCRIPTION: An image of DNA with the title (top left) and the ME Association logo (bottom right)

The Times: Hunt begins for genes to unlock mystery of ME

Sean O'Neill senior writer for The Times reports on the Decode ME study that officially starts today.


A scientific mission to find the genetic signal to one of the world’s most puzzling medical
conditions begins today.

British researchers are inviting thousands of people with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) to provide DNA samples for analysis to identify the minute differences that make them susceptible to the debilitating illness.

The £3.2 million DecodeME programme, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is seeking 20,000 samples from people diagnosed with ME. Registration to take part in the study opens at noon today and people will be sent “spit kits” to submit saliva samples.

We are asking if there is a common DNA difference between people with ME and the rest of the population.
“Genome-wide association studies like DecodeME have proved successful in helping to uncover the biological roots of other complex diseases, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Any differences we find compared to control samples will serve as important biological clues.” It “should help identify genes, biological molecules and types of cells that may play a part in causing ME”.

Lead researcher Chris Ponting, principal investigator at the MRC Human Genetics Unit at Edinburgh University.

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Other news references

More links to other media coverage are shown below

The MEA has details of radio interviews on DecodeME

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