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Epilepsy Behav. 2013 Jul;28 Suppl 1:S52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.06.033.

The quest for juvenile myoclonic epilepsy genes.

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Epilepsy Genetics/Genomics Laboratories, Neurology and Research Services, VA GLAHS-West Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Introduced into a specific population, a juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) mutation generates linkage disequilibrium (LD). Linkage disequilibrium is strongest when the JME mutation is of recent origin, still "hitchhiking" alleles surrounding it, as a haplotype into the next thousands of generations. Recombinations decay LD over tens of thousands of generations causing JME alleles to produce smaller genetic displacements, requiring other genes or environment to produce an epilepsy phenotype. Family-based linkage analysis captures rare epilepsy alleles and their "hitchhiking" haplotypes, transmitted as Mendelian traits, supporting the common disease/multiple rare allele model. Genome-wide association studies identify JME alleles whose linkage disequilibrium has decayed through thousands of generations and are sorting out the common disease/common allele versus rare allele models. Five Mendelian JME genes have been identified, namely, CACNB4, CASR, GABRa1, GABRD, and Myoclonin1/EFHC1. Three SNP alleles in BRD2, Cx-36, and ME2 and microdeletions in 15q13.3, 15q11.2, and 16p13.11 also contribute risk to JME.

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