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, 17 (1), 17-23

State of Play in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Genetics


State of Play in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Genetics

Alan E Renton et al. Nat Neurosci.


Considerable progress has been made in unraveling the genetic etiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common form of adult-onset motor neuron disease and the third most common neurodegenerative disease overall. Here we review genes implicated in the pathogenesis of motor neuron degeneration and how this new information is changing the way we think about this fatal disorder. Specifically, we summarize current literature of the major genes underlying ALS, SOD1, TARDBP, FUS, OPTN, VCP, UBQLN2, C9ORF72 and PFN1, and evaluate the information being gleaned from genome-wide association studies. We also outline emerging themes in ALS research, such as next-generation sequencing approaches to identify de novo mutations, the genetic convergence of familial and sporadic ALS, the proposed oligogenic basis for the disease, and how each new genetic discovery is broadening the phenotype associated with the clinical entity we know as ALS.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Timeline of gene discoveries in familial and sporadic ALS. Values represent the proportion of ALS explained by each gene in populations of European ancestry. References are provided in the main text.

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