Saturday, November 5, 2011

The genetic basis of 130 brain diseases

Like in the cases of Prader-Willi Syndrome and Angelman Syndrome which are both based upon changes in the same locus, it appears that there are many instances of single genes that are implicated in multiple psychological disorders. Last year, the Gene to Cognition project finished their search for proteins involved in the postsynaptic density (the PSD: a molecular machinery involved in synaptic development and function), resulting in a list of 1461 genes, many of which are already associated with psychological disorders. Specifically, 130 diseases are now known to be linked to proteins critical to the PSD, and many of those proteins have been shown to play a role in multiple diseases. With this list of genes and proteins, it will now be possible for scientists to begin designing better therapies for disease, and perhaps creating therapies that may function in multiple diseases with similar genetic bases. It will be interesting to see how many of these disorders seem to be caused by deletions and epigenetic factors like those seen in the readings for this week and how many can be understood by more classical, Mendelian inheritance patterns.

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