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Feb 27, 2007

Celera Identifies Novel Genes Associated with Alzheimer’s

  • Celera published data from its research studies identifying several candidate genetic markers associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), including markers in multiple genes that have never been associated with it. This report will appear in Human Molecular Genetics.

    Two of these genes are PCK1, a gene that regulates blood glucose levels, and GALP, a gene that is modulated by insulin and regulates food intake, which suggest a link between Alzheimer’s disease and irregular glucose/insulin levels. 

    This is the first report of a genome-wide association study in LOAD focused on testing genetic variants that are likely to change the function of a gene or protein. There were 19 SNPs that showed significant association with LOAD in an analysis of five independent case-control sample sets.

    Three of the identified markers were located close to the APOE gene, a known risk factor for LOAD. An additional 16 markers mapped to biological candidate genes, such as PCK1 and GALP; chromosome segments that are considered to hold genetic mutations that lead to a higher risk for LOAD; or to novel genes.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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