Scientists find 6 new genetic risk factors for Parkinson's

28 July 2014

A group of scientists working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories have identified more than two dozen genetic risk factors involved in Parkinson's disease, with six being new discoveries.

The research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, used data from more than 18,000 patients and could provide further insight into the "multiple mechanisms" that are involved in the disease, according to the authors.

Dr Andrew Singleton, a scientist at the NIH's National Institute on Aging (NIA) and senior author of the study, said the findings could even lead to new therapies for the disease.

The team collected and combined data from existing genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which enable them to identify common variants in the genetic codes of large groups of individuals. 

The data included approximately 13,708 Parkinson's disease cases and 95,282 controls. The findings were then confirmed with another sample of subjects, including 5,353 patients and 5,551 controls. 

Using a gene chip called NeuroX, the researchers confirmed that 24 variants represent genetic risk factors for Parkinson's disease, including six that had not been previously identified. 

Posted by Philip Briggs


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