About a million people in the U.S. have IBD, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The gene discovery is "not a gene test" for IBD, and it's "not going to be an immediate panacea" for people with IBD, Cho tells WebMD. "But we have a lot better information, and the power of information, I think, is going to hopefully make a difference."
For instance, the gene findings may eventually lead to new drugs to treat IBD.
"It basically says, 'OK, let's put this at the top of the list of things that we should really work on,'" Cho says.