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Arch Neurol. 2000 Aug;57(8):1129-34.

Applicability of yeast genetics to neurologic disease.

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Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas TX 75235-8593, USA.


As advances in gene mapping technology reveal genes associated with neurologic diseases, the need to identify a gene's normal function arises often. Experimental genetics is very useful in identifying a gene's function. It relies on model organisms both because it is not appropriate in humans, and because many processes are remarkably similar among eukaryotes. Many cellular processes have evolved once, and species differences are variations on a theme. Molecular genetic tools available in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae provide a means to more rapidly reach an understanding of gene function, yielding substantial insight into the same process in humans. Yeast will never complain of headache or "spells," but do have expansions of trinucleotide repeats, prions, and other processes very much analogous to those underlying many neurologic diseases. In spite of the absence of a nervous system in yeast, yeast genetics has contributed substantial insight into neurologic diseases mechanisms. The real strength of yeast in studying human disease is in genetic analysis of gene function and in providing genetically powerful functional assays. Arch Neurol. 2000;57:1129-1134.

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