A new study published in Nature and led by scientists at Imperial College London researched new ways to study the genes in the immune system as they relate to asthma and allergic diseases.

The team looked at epigenetic changes, which do not affect the genetic code itself but which influence the activity of genes.

Using this approach, the researchers were able to pinpoint genes that regulate a particular antibody that is involved in triggering allergic responses. This antibody, called immunoglobin E (IgE), was known to researchers already but before today’s study scientists had been unable to identify which genes regulate its activities.