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23andMe discovers genetic variant that may protect those at risk for Parkinson's disease
Date:10/25/2011

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (October 25, 2011) 23andMe, Inc., a leading personal genetics company, has announced the first-time discovery of the potentially protective nature of the gene serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) which appears to be protective against a high-risk leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutation for Parkinson's disease (PD).

The LRRK2 gene is recognized as a significant risk factor for Parkinson's disease. Of the approximately 1 in 10,000 people who carry a mutation called G2019S on the LRRK2 gene, about half develop Parkinson's disease. 23andMe has a large cohort of individuals who carry the G2019S mutation but surprisingly, do not have Parkinson's. In examining this cohort, 23andMe discovered the potentially protective nature of SGK1.

In a program funded by a $500,000 grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, The Scripps Research Institute is investigating SGK1 and LRRK2, seeking to identify a new and potentially vital therapeutic target for Parkinson's disease.

The SGK1 finding was possible due to the magnitude of 23andMe's very active research community. The company currently has 125,000 genotyped customers, and nearly 90 percent have opted-in to participate in the company's Institutional Review Board-approved research. 23andMe has amassed the single largest Parkinson's research cohort in the world, which now comprises more than 6,000 participants and includes one of the largest cohorts of individuals carrying the pathogenic mutations in the LRRK2 gene.

In addition to genetic data, the company also compiles phenotypic (survey) data from research participants, which provides researchers with important insights into the interplay between genetics and overall health. "The 23andMe research platform can efficiently identify healthy individuals with rare genetic variants. Finding them is akin to finding a needle in a haystack and can only be identified with large data
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
23andMe Inc.
Source:Eurekalert  

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23andMe discovers genetic variant that may protect those at risk for Parkinson's disease
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