23andMe, the private genetic company with a special interest in Parkinson’s, has discovered a gene that may protect against Parkinson’s.
The LRRK2 gene is recognized as a significant risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. Of the approximately 1 in 10,000 people who carry a mutation called G2019S on the LRRK2 gene, about half develop Parkinson’s disease. 23andMe has a large cohort of individuals who carry the G2019S mutation but surprisingly, do not have Parkinson’s. In examining this cohort, 23andMe discovered the potentially protective nature of SGK1.
The Scripps Research Institute will investigate the finding further, with the aim of trying to “identify a new and potentially vital therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease”, with funding from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be possible to extract specific gene data from the 23andMe Web interface; I was curious as to whether I had the G2019S mutation in LRRK2, but wasn’t able to find out.