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Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3118-31. doi: 10.1093/brain/awn081. Epub 2008 May 18.

The complex genetics of multiple sclerosis: pitfalls and prospects.

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Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.


The genetics of complex disease is entering a new and exciting era. The exponentially growing knowledge and technological capabilities emerging from the human genome project have finally reached the point where relevant genes can be readily and affordably identified. As a result, the last 12 months has seen a virtual explosion in new knowledge with reports of unequivocal association to relevant genes appearing almost weekly. The impact of these new discoveries in Neuroscience is incalculable at this stage but potentially revolutionary. In this review, an attempt is made to illuminate some of the mysteries surrounding complex genetics. Although focused almost exclusively on multiple sclerosis all the points made are essentially generic and apply equally well, with relatively minor addendums, to any other complex trait, neurological or otherwise.

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