Supervisors: Tony Merriman (Biochemistry) and Lisa Matisoo-Smith
Title of thesis: Hyperuricaemia in the Pacific: An investigation into reasons for elevated serum uric acid levels among Polynesians
Elevated serum urate levels are common among Pacific Island populations, in particular Polynesians and Micronesians. Evidence for gout, a disease which develops in response to the development and deposition of monosodium urate crystals in joints, from prehistoric archaeological sites in the region suggests that this is unlikely to be a modern phenomenon – the high concentrations of urate in the blood is a trait which has probably been present since the first arrival of people into the area. Evaluating the biological roles of urate, the population history of the region and employing genetic analytical methods, this research aims to disentangle factors which may have resulted in the innate predisposition to raised serum urate levels in Pacific Islanders.