Idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition in which the involvement of genes and the environment is still controversial. Two papers in November 14 JAMA from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, US suggest that the parkin gene is important in early-onset PD and that multiple genetic factors are important in the development of late-onset PD.

Scott et al. performed a complete genomic screening in 174 families (870 individuals) with multiple individuals diagnosed as having idiopathic PD. Genotyping was performed by the FAAST method. They detected significant evidence for linkage to chromosome 6 (parkin gene) in families with at least 1 individual with PD onset at younger than 40 years. The linkage with chromosomes 17q, 8p, and 5q was significant in families with late-onset PD. In addition, chromosome 9q was linked to families with both levodopa-responsive and levodopa-nonresponsive patients (JAMA 2001, 286: 2239-2244).

"This finding suggests...

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