A Mayo Clinic study provides evidence that explains why some people get Parkinson’s disease and predicts at what age they may develop their first symptoms. The researchers found that the joint effects of common DNA variations in several genes that encode proteins within the axon guidance pathway determine whether or not someone will suffer from Parkinson’s.
“By examining a large cluster of related genes, we found patterns that make people up to 90 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than the average person,” says study co-author Timothy Lesnick, a Mayo Clinic biostatistician. “The size of the effects that we observed for genes within a pathway and the statistical significance of the predictive models were unprecedented.”
PredictER Note: SEE Lesnik TG, et al. 2007. A Genomic Pathway Approach to a Complex Disease: Axon Guidance and Parkinson Disease. PLoS Genet 3(6): e98 doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030098