Genetics of Parkinson's disease

Mol Cell Probes. 2016 Dec;30(6):386-396. doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Nov 4.


Almost two decades after the identification of SNCA as the first causative gene in Parkinson's disease (PD) and the subsequent understanding that genetic factors play a substantial role in PD development, our knowledge of the genetic architecture underlying this disease has vastly improved. Approximately 5-10% of patients suffer from a monogenic form of PD where autosomal dominant mutations in SNCA, LRRK2, and VPS35 and autosomal recessive mutations in PINK1, DJ-1, and Parkin cause the disease with high penetrance. Furthermore, recent whole-exome sequencing have described autosomal recessive DNAJC6 mutations in predominately atypical, but also cases with typical PD. In addition, several other genes have been linked to atypical Parkinsonian phenotypes. However, the vast majority of PD is genetically complex, i.e. it is caused by the combined action of common genetic variants in concert with environmental factors. By the application of genome-wide association studies, 26 PD risk loci have been established to date. Similar to other genetically complex diseases, these show only moderate effects on PD risk. Increasing this etiologic complexity, many of the involved genetic and environmental risk factors likely interact in an intricate fashion. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current knowledge in PD genetics.

Keywords: Environment; Epidemiology; GWAS; Genetic association; Genetic risk score; Genome-wide association study; Interaction; Parkinson's disease; Prediction.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Risk Factors
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • alpha-Synuclein / genetics


  • SNCA protein, human
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein