African Americans face higher rates of kidney failure compared to Caucasians. This may be due to a gene variant found in blacks, but there is still not enough evidence to support such a claim. Therefore, gene screening in blacks for the variant may not be justified.
The variant occurs in a gene called apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), which is responsible for producing a protein for good cholesterol. Nearly five million blacks carry an APOL1 variant, yet not all of these individuals will develop kidney disease.
Johns Hopkins researchers looked at data from over 15,000 Americans who were followed for nearly 25 years. The researchers noted that blacks were more likely to develop kidney failure, compared to whites.
Additional research is required to better understand the racial differences with regards to kidney failure.