Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies

GEN Exclusives

More »

GEN News Highlights

More »
Feb 21, 2007

Genome-Wide Search Reveals Clues for the Cause of Sporadic ALS

  • Scientists report they have found 34 possible gene changes that may be linked to ALS.

    Clues gathered by the scientists at the NINDS, NIA, and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, and in Italy, are reportedly the first from a collaborative genomic study of sporadic or spontaneously arising ALS.

    The team searched the genes of 276 sporadic ALS patients and an equal number of neurologically normal people. Gene finder chips report that one spelling of a gene sequence is more or less common in people with the disease compared to people without it. Variation in a gene may lead to increased risk for disease or may produce no functional change.

    A few known mutations produce a few percent of ALS cases, those passed in families. For the vast majority of ALS that is not inherited, no single gene change emerged from the genome-wide search. "There is no single gene out there, which causes most of sporadic ALS,” notes Bryan Traynor, M.D., who led the study. “But, we now have many leads to follow up in collaboration with our Italian colleagues."

    The research was funded in part by The ALS Association and was published in Lancet Neurology.

Be sure to take the GEN Poll

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?

More »