Shake the family tree of a patient with a movement disorder, and more and more genes are apt to tumble out. Parkinson's disease and many less well-known movement disorders are now considered to be more familial than scientists had previously thought. "When it comes to Parkinson's disease, the important role of genetics as a decisive factor in the appearance and evolution of the disease is gaining more and more ground," says Eduard Tolosa, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Barcelona and chairman of the recent Sixth International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, held in Barcelona, Spain.

Recessive parkin genes have now been implicated in early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD), and mutations in genes coding for alpha synuclein and ubiquitin carboxy terminal hydrolase in families with the autosomal dominant type of PD, according to speaker Mihael Polymeropoulos of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Gaithersburg, Md. Thomas Gasser...

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