Harvard professor Rudolph Tanzi and his colleagues have found 13 previously unknown mutations associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The authors of the new work believe that Aligheimer’s disease may be associated with rather rare variations in the structure of genes that traditional genetic research can not identify.
To do this, they completely decoded the DNA of more than two thousand carriers of Alzheimer’s disease and their relatives, as well as almost 1.7 thousand people who were not related to each other by family ties.
Next, the authors compared sets of rare mutations and isolated 13 of them associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Many of the genes in which these mutations have been found are responsible for forming new synapses, the growth of neurons, and controlling their plasticity.
Harvard University professor Rudolf Tanzi said that soon, his team will study the effect of these mutations on the functioning of nerve cells and the entire nervous system as a whole: they will introduce similar DNA variations into the genome of stem cells and grow out of them miniature semblances of the brain.
Scientists hope that this will bring humanity closer to creating the first effective drugs for Alzheimer’s disease.