Probing the genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease

20 February 2012

A new study on the genomics of Alzheimer’s disease will look at genome sequences from 1000 Alzheimer’s patients, as well as healthy controls.
The New York Genome Center (NYGC), a collaborative genome sequencing and informatics initiative that brings together academic and clinical partners, will join with sequencing company Illumina and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research for the new project. Illumina CEO and President Jay Flatley said the initiative would “enable a deeper understanding of the clinical application of genetics, along the path of improving human health".
It is hoped that, by identifying Alzheimer's disease susceptibility genes, the new knowledge from the project will improve individual disease risk prediction, as well as boosting development of earlier and more effective treatments – although without such treatments, the benefits of improved risk prediction is questionable.
Comment: The announcement follows publication of unrelated new research suggesting that mutations in genes linked to early-onset forms of Alzheimer’s are also present in the more common, late-onset form of disease; clearly, using genetic measures to improve risk prediction is not likely to be straightforward. However, this complexity underlines the need for more research data.

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