Findings highlight 12 potential ’susceptibility’ genes
Mayo Clinic researchers in collaboration with scientists at Perlegen Sciences, Inc. and funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research have produced the first large-scale whole genome map of genetic variability associated with Parkinson’s disease. Their results highlight changes in 12 genes that may increase the risk for Parkinson’s disease in some people. Parkinson’s disease is a disabling and currently incurable disease that affects millions of people worldwide.
Mayo Clinic and Perlegen Sciences will report their findings in The American Journal of Human Genetics. The paper was published online Friday, Sept. 9 (www.ajhg.org) and will appear in the November 2005 print issue.
Susceptibility genes are genes that may make some people more or less likely to develop a disease but that do not necessarily cause the disease directly. The authors note that in this study, the size of the effect was small for any single SNP; combinations of gene variants or interactions with environmental factors may be necessary to develop Parkinson’s disease.
"This study represents the first large-scale attempt to assess the contribution of genes to susceptibility and development of Parkinson’s disease," said Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., Sc.D., chief scientific advisor for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health. "If confirmed, the finding of 12 potential susceptibility genes is significant. However, equally significant is the fact that this comprehensive study found no strong single genetic determinant of Parkinson’s disease." The Michael J. Fox Foundation is organizing a large-scale validation study of the initial findings.
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