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When your left hand mimics what your right hand does: It's in the genes
Date:2/17/2012

Further work carried out on mice suggests that this gene plays a part in motor network cross-over. Cross-over is a key factor in the transmission of brain signals, because it allows the right side of the brain to control the left side of the body and vice versa. This research has been published in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

Congenital mirror movement is a rare disease transmitted from one generation to another by dominant inheritance. The affected persons lose the ability to carry out different movements with separate hands: when one hand moves in a certain way, the other hand is "forced" to copy the same movement, even if the person does not wish to do so. So people suffering from this disease are totally incapable of bimanual motor activities, such as piano playing for example. This phenomenon has been observed in children, but generally cleared up spontaneously before the age of 10, no doubt due to maturing of the motoneuron networks. However, in people who are affected by the disorder, the illness starts in early childhood and remains unchanged throughout life.

In 2010, research scientists from Quebec analyzed the genome from the members of a large Canadian family and discovered a gene responsible for the disease. Mutations had been detected in the DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma) gene. Following this discovery, the team of researchers and doctors coordinated by Emmanuel Flamand-Roze began to search for mutations in this gene in several members of a French family who were also suffering from congenital mirror movements disease, but without success. "The DCC gene was intact", explained Emmanuel Flamand-Roze. "We thought we were nearly there and instead we had to start searching for mutation in a different gene", he adds.

Using an approach that combines conventional genetic analysis and "whole exome" analysis (a new-generation genetic analysis technique that involves entirely sequencing the important part
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Contact: Inserm Presse
presse@inserm.fr
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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