Recent advances in the genetics of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
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- Valdmanis, P.N., Daoud, H., Dion, P.A. et al. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (2009) 9: 198. doi:10.1007/s11910-009-0030-9
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder with a low survival rate beyond 5 years from symptom onset. Although the genes that cause most cases of ALS are still unknown, several important genetic discoveries have been made recently that will bring substantial insight into some of the mechanisms involved in ALS. Mutations in two genes with related functions were recently reported in patients with familial ALS: the FUS/TLS gene at the ALS6 locus on chromosome 16 and the TARDBP gene at the ALS10 locus on chromosome 1. In addition, the first wave of genomewide association studies in ALS has been published. While these studies clearly show that there is no definitive and common highly penetrant allele that causes ALS, some interesting candidate genes emerged from these studies. The findings help to better delineate the types of genes and genetic variants that are involved in ALS and provide substantial material for future research.