The Role of Genome-Wide Association Studies in Understanding Sporadic Parkinson’s Disease Susceptibility
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Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, occurring mainly in individuals older than 60 years. The disease causes severe motor disabilities of which tremor is the most frequent. Although many mutations have been shown to cause early-onset Parkinson, the sporadic late-onset form remains largely idiopathic (no known cause). Recent Genome-wide association studies have revealed a large pool of single nucleotide variations that increase the risk of developing this disease. In this review the genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease will be discussed. The most prominent risk loci, identified in multiple association studies, will be linked to known gene mutations and affected pathways. Showing that early- and late-onset PD share a common genetic and molecular basis. The limitations of association studies will also be addressed, showing that we still have a long way to go in fully understanding the genetics behind this disease.