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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2002 Oct;14(5):653-60.

Genetics of Parkinson's disease and biochemical studies of implicated gene products.

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  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Parkinson's disease was thought, until recently, to have little or no genetic component. This notion has changed with the identification of three genes, and the mapping of five others, that are linked to rare familial forms of the disease (FPD). The products of the identified genes, alpha-synuclein (PARK 1), parkin (PARK 2), and ubiquitin-C-hydrolase-L1 (PARK 5) are the subject of intense cell-biological and biochemical studies designed to elucidate the underlying mechanism of FPD pathogenesis. In addition, the complex genetics of idiopathic PD is beginning to be unraveled. Genetic information may prove to be useful in identifying new therapeutic targets and identifying the preclinical phase of PD, allowing treatment to begin sooner.

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