Reykjavik, September 19th, 1999 — deCODE genetics, Inc. announced today that they have identified a locus on chromosome 2p13 that contains a gene that is linked to pre-eclampsia in women — a condition that is indicated in an estimated three to seven percent of pregnancies worldwide. The study, conducted jointly with the National University Hospital of Iceland, appears in the September issue of Human Molecular Genetics.

The research project began two years ago with information gathered on 2585 women diagnosed with the disease during the period 1984-1993. Approximately 18% of those who responded to questionnaires knew of a close relative diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. A genome-wide scan was performed on the DNA of 343 patients along with their relatives. The results reveal that a locus on chromosome 2p13 is closely linked to the disease. Continued research will focus on identifying the mutated gene’s location within the locus.

Pre-eclampsia is a common and serious disease and a major cause of maternal and infant mortality. Unlike most other human disorders, it severely affects two individuals — the mother and the infant. The major signs are hypertension and proteinuria occurring during the latter half of pregnancy. The disease may run in families and it is associated with other vascular diseases, but a significant link to a specific chromosome has not been known until now.

“This constitutes a major step towards the understanding of pre-eclampsia, which is a disease that occurs at the interface between genes and the environment,” said Dr. Kári Stefansson, President and Chief Executive Officer of deCODE.

Based in Reykjavík, Iceland, deCODE genetics is a population-based genomics company, conducting research in the genetics of 35 common diseases. The mission of deCODE genetics is to use human genetics and genomics to acquire new knowledge about health and disease, and work with pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers to develop novel methods to identify, treat and prevent diseases. deCODE operates one of the most technologically advanced, high-throughput genotyping laboratories in the world. Additional information on deCODE can be found at www.decode.is.