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Gene Variant's Possible Role

Experts argue on whether a gene variant may have contributed to the deaths of two children whose mother was convicted of murder, Australia's ABC News reports.

It adds that Kathleen Folbigg was convicted in 2003 and is serving a 25-year sentence for the murder of three of her children, Sarah, Patrick, and Laura, and manslaughter of her firstborn, Caleb, as infants. Originally, their deaths were thought to be due to sudden infant death syndrome, until Laura's death, ABC News reported in an earlier article, noting that the children's deaths then became murder investigations.

It now reports that an inquiry into the Folbigg case has found that Kathleen Folbigg as well as Sarah and Laura were carriers of the CALM2 G114R gene variant, which has been associated with cardiac arrhythmias, including in infancy and early childhood. The variant was not, however, present in Caleb or Patrick.

Still, ABC News reports that two researchers called by Folbigg's legal team say the role of the variant in the children's deaths cannot be excluded, while lawyers for the inquiry argue that the gene's role is uncertain. A judge is to consider whether this evidence is enough for Folbigg's case to go to the appeal court, it adds.