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Genetic Variants Associated With Parkinson's Disease

Some variants are specific to certain populations

FRIDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- There are genetic variants associated with Parkinson's disease, some of which are specific to certain populations, according to a study in the December issue of Nature Genetics.

Javier Simón-Sánchez, of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues used a cohort of 1,713 Caucasian patients with Parkinson's disease and 3,978 controls to conduct a genome-wide association study.

The researchers observed two strong association signals in the gene encoding α-synuclein (SNCA) and MAPT locus, and when they compared their findings with data from a similar association study among Japanese Parkinson's disease patients, they found replication of the SNCA association but not the MAPT locus in the Asian cohort.

"We were able to replicate the effect of a novel locus detected in the Asian cohort (PARK16) and provide evidence supporting the role of common variability around LRRK2 in modulating risk for Parkinson's disease. These data demonstrate an unequivocal role for common genetic variability in the etiology of typical Parkinson's disease," the authors write. "With the discovery of the PARK16 locus in the Asian population, this highlights the power of comparing genome-wide association studies across different populations."

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