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New evidence for Alzheimer's gene on chromosome 10
By Birgit Hofmann-Reinert

Researchers found evidence for a gene on human chromosome 10 that, in combination with the previously identified Alzheimer's gene APOE E4, significantly increases the risk for people with family histories of Alzheimer's to develop the disease. George Zubenko, of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, led the study.

The precise location of the new susceptibility gene could not yet be determined, but it appears to be in a small segment of chromosome 10. "Though a draft sequence of the human genetic code was announced almost a year ago, the sequence for this portion of chromosome 10 still has holes in it, which impedes progress in pinpointing the gene," Zubenko was quoted as saying in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The researchers studied more than 300 first-degree relatives of 189 Alzheimer's patients. After a period of almost eleven years, 18 of the relatives in the study had developed the disease. Zubenko's team found that the risk for developing Alzheimer's increased 16-fold if a person was a carrier of both the new susceptibility gene and the APOE E4 gene. The study is published in the current issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

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Zubenko, G.S. et al. D10S1423 identifies a susceptibility locus for Alzheimer's disease in a prospective, longitudinal, double-blind study of asymptomatic individuals. Mol Psychiatry 6, 413-419 (July 2001).

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