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2006 Grant - Haines
Identifying the Chromosome 10 Risk Gene for Alzheimer's Disease
Jonathan L. Haines, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
The human genome contains roughly three billion letters of genetic code spread out over 23 chromosomes. Subtle variations in that code can cause or predispose one to any number of diseases, but finding out which letter, or few letters, are to blame can be a daunting task. For example, though researchers have determined that there may be variations in the code on chromosome 10 that predispose individuals to Alzheimer's disease, finding those variations has proven very difficult.
Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to focus their attention on a small region of chromosome 10 that they believe may harbor genetic changes that increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease. Recently they found 18 different genes that are either over- or under-activated in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. Genetic changes in any one of these genes could, in theory, predispose people to the disease.
Dr. Haines and colleagues will now focus on the genetic code in the regions occupied by those genes. First, they will look for single nucleotide polymorphisms, or single letter changes in the genetic code, which might be specific to people with Alzheimer's. To do this they will analyze DNA samples from more than 2,000 people-individuals with and without Alzheimer's disease.
If they fail to find any simple genetic changes that correlate with Alzheimer's disease, they will then perform more detailed analysis by searching for more complex genetic rearrangements, deletions or changes to the genetic code in the vicinity of these genes. Their work could help identify the genetic changes on chromosome 10 that may be responsible for increasing the risk for Alzheimer's.