International ALS gene search begins

May 16, 2006

U.S. scientists are leading the first international gene search for typical ALS -- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Although it's the more common form of the disease, sporadic ALS -- affecting about 90 percent of those living with the fatal neurodegenerative illness -- has been the one less studied, simply because, unlike familial ALS, no genes have been determined involved.

This week, however Dr. Bryan Traynor and John Hardy of the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University are beginning the first in-depth screening for genes that underlie the "spontaneous" illness, which, as all ALS, destroys the motor neurons that enable movement, including breathing. Half of the study focuses on Italian populations.

"In the forest of exciting research that's going on in ALS," said Packard Director Jeffrey Rothstein, "this is a tall tree. We've been waiting some time for this one."

Traynor said the work will clarify the role of genes in sporadic ALS. He added: "We don't know, for example, if (sporadic) ALS is triggered by a handful of interacting genes or genes plus environment or environment alone. The study aims to clarify that."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Mutant protein in muscle linked to neuromuscular disorder

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mechanical forces in development

Dec 13, 2013

(Phys.org) —Early embryonic development is a marvel of mechanics. Its signature step is the production of three tissue layers—mesoderm, ectoderm, and endoderm—through a topological maneuver known as ...

Clinton warns of bioweapon threat from gene tech

Dec 07, 2011

(AP) -- New gene assembly technology that offers great benefits for scientific research could also be used by terrorists to create biological weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned ...

Scientists reveal key barrier to reprogramming human zygotes

Oct 06, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- New research from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists pinpoints a biological barrier that has thus far slowed progress in creating disease-specific stem cell lines using a technique known ...

Recommended for you

Gate for bacterial toxins found

14 minutes ago

Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Aktories and Dr. Panagiotis Papatheodorou from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Freiburg have discovered the receptor responsible ...

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

20 minutes ago

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...