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Parkinson's Disease And Genetics

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they have finished the preliminary work in understanding the role of genetics in Parkinson's disease//. The study is far from complete, but it is designed to act as a starting point for future detailed studies.

The study was led by researchers at the National Institute of Aging (NIA) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The data were derived from blood samples of 267 people with PD and 270 neurologically normal individuals. These samples were made available by The NINDS Human Genetics Resource Center at the Coriell Institute (, a publicly-funded bank for human cells, DNA samples, clinical data, and other information that aims to accelerate research on genetics of disorders of the nervous system. Results of the study appear in the September 27, 2006, early online publication of The Lancet Neurology.

"This is, to my knowledge, the first publicly available genotype data of this magnitude outside of the International HapMap effort, and certainly the first disease-linked dataset. I hope that this will prove to be a valuable resource for future genetics work in Parkinson's disease, both for our laboratory and for other researchers around the world," says Andrew Singleton, Ph.D., the NIA researcher who led the study. "The use of neurologically normal controls from the NINDS neurogenetics repository means that these data can be readily used as a control group in future large scale SNP studies performed in many other neurological diseases."

"The NINDS Human Genetics Resource Center has created a resource that allows broad sharing and access to phenotypic and genotypic data, as well as biological samples, with no restrictions. This approach to open, public sharing of genetic materials and data is unprecedented. It will allow scientific progress in the field of genetics to proceed in a much faster way, and in ways w e can't even currently anticipate," says Katrina Gwinn-Hardy, M.D., the NINDS program contact for the Human Genetics Resource Center and an author on the paper.


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