A new study shows that faulty genes could be responsible for asthma, according to scientists from the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The study, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that a gene variation most likely doubles an individual’s chance of developing asthma. Those who do not have the variation are protected.

Click here to read the study.

Approximately 14 million adults and six million children suffer from asthma in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic. If left untreated, asthma can be life-threatening.

Scientists said they are hoping the discovery of the gene, CHI3L1, which has two types of proteins – 131C and 131G; those with asthma probably inherit two copies of the 131C variation – will lead them to new treatments that can block the gene to prevent or cure asthma.