The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are multifactorial in etiology, but a major causative role for genetic factors has long been recognized. Recent advances in genetic technologies have made dissection of the genes underlying common diseases possible; consequently, there is an emerging understanding of the inherited factors that predispose to IBD. In this review, we summarize current information on the genetics of IBD, emphasizing the discovery of CARD15 variants as susceptibility alleles for Crohn's disease and the impact of this discovery on patient care and in delineating pathogenesis of this complex disease.
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