The History of Gene Hunting in Hereditary Spinocerebellar Degeneration: Lessons From the Past and Future Perspectives

Front Genet. 2021 Mar 23:12:638730. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2021.638730. eCollection 2021.


Hereditary spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD) encompasses an expanding list of rare diseases with a broad clinical and genetic heterogeneity, complicating their diagnosis and management in daily clinical practice. Correct diagnosis is a pillar for precision medicine, a branch of medicine that promises to flourish with the progressive improvements in studying the human genome. Discovering the genes causing novel Mendelian phenotypes contributes to precision medicine by diagnosing subsets of patients with previously undiagnosed conditions, guiding the management of these patients and their families, and enabling the discovery of more causes of Mendelian diseases. This new knowledge provides insight into the biological processes involved in health and disease, including the more common complex disorders. This review discusses the evolution of the clinical and genetic approaches used to diagnose hereditary SCD and the potential of new tools for future discoveries.

Keywords: diagnosis; gene discovery; hereditary cerebellar ataxia; hereditary spastic paraplegia; neurogenetics; spinocerebellar ataxia; spinocerebellar degeneration.

Publication types

  • Review