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Research team identifies new Alzheimer's gene

A study comparing more genetic markers in the DNA of people with and without Alzheimer’s disease than ever before has enabled researchers to identify a common gene that appears to increase a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. The finding, announced today by researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, Kronos Science Laboratory and their collaborative partners, suggests that the gene — called GAB2 — modifies an individual’s risk when associated with other genes, including APOE4. The study results appear in the June 7 issue of the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Neuron.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of disabling memory and thinking problems in older people. The progressive neurological disorder afflicts an estimated 5 million Americans, a number expected to triple by 2050.

“We have entered a new era in medical research. Today’s technologies permit us to survey a sufficient number of letters throughout the human genome to provide a clearer picture of how life works and ultimately allow better clinical management of patients,” said Dr. Dietrich Stephan, Director of TGen’s Neurogenomics Division and the paper’s senior author, “These new, robust tools may eventually allow us to improve our ability to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, even before it strikes”

To date, the most significant gene found to predispose an individual to late onset Alzheimer’s (LOAD) has been APOE4. In this latest study, researchers from seven organizations contributed to the genome-wide scan using Affymetrix microarray technology. The team screened the DNA from 1,400 individuals who had been clinically assessed with Alzheimer’s prior death, and simultaneously examined more than 500,000 SNPs or genetic variations to characterize and confirm additional LOAD susceptibility genes. The search revealed GAB2.

Based on the genetics of this and other neuroscientific findings, researche
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Source:The Translational Genomics Research Institute


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