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Tiny variations our DNA can have a significant impact on our lives.
For the last 20 years, Parkinson’s researchers have been collecting data highlighting ‘genetic risk factors’ that are associated with increasing one’s risk of developing the condition.
More recently, however, these same scientists have started shifting their attention to the factors that modulate these genetic risk factors – and some of those influences are also genetic.
In today’s post, we will look at new research exploring genetic variations that influence the effect of the Parkinson’s-associated GBA genetic variants, and discuss why this research has huge implications not only on how we conduct clinical trials, but also on how we will treat Parkinson’s in the future.
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Prof Craig Venter. Source: ScienceMag
In June 2000, when the results of the first human genome sequencing were announced during a ceremony at the White House, the DNA sequencing pioneer Prof Craig Venter observed that “The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis“.
He was suggesting that due to genetic variations among human individuals and populations, the term ‘race’ cannot be biologically defined. There was simply no evidence that the broad groups we commonly refer to as “races” have any distinct or unifying genetic identities (Click here for interesting additional reading on this).
Prof Venter’s words were a powerful statement regarding the incredible variability within our genetic make up.
And that variability is even more remarkable considering that we are all 99.9 percent genetically identical.
So how do we explain the variability then?