Genetic Roots of Parkinson's Disease

Genetic research suggests that Parkinson's disease is not a matter of wear and tear in the brain, but more of an inherited susceptibility to damage: "Inheriting one or both of these mutations doesn't mean that a person will develop Parkinson's disease, but that an individual's risk is increased. The basis of population genetics is that disease is familial; people are so distantly related that they don't know they may have inherited specific genes. While there may be an environmental component to development of the disease, none have been identified that have risks as large as those seen by the LRRK2 gene mutations ... even though there are familial mutations in different locations of the gene, it produces the same effect, the same disease. ... It seems like mutations are occurring in a few founders, and that these founders have a lot of offspring over generations that carry the mutation. Even in sporadic disease, then, familial genes are inherited but symptoms may skip some generations, making the disease appear sporadic." Which suggests that much of Parkinson's could be eliminated via use of a mature gene therapy technology.


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