080210xf's Blog

L'X fragile sera vaincu | Fragile X will be conquered

Genetics spurs next generation of brain research

Glenna Picton, Baylor College of Medicine |

HOUSTON — (October 21, 2010) — The field of neurogenetics soared during the decade since scientists first released a draft sequence of the human genome, said leaders in the field from Baylor College of Medicine and Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in an overview published in the current issue of the journal Neuron. The field, however, was ready to take off, building on the efforts that took place in the 1990s, resulting in the finding of critical genes such as that for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie Tooth and fragile X, said Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi, professor of molecular and human genetics, pediatrics, neuroscience and neurology at BCM and Dr. Stephen T. Warren, professor of human genetics, pediatrics and biochemistry at Emory. Zoghbi is also director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Certainly, the researchers noted, “cloning the gene for Rett syndrome (performed in Zoghbi’s laboratory) would not have been possible in 1999 had it not been for the intense mapping and sequencing efforts of the X chromosome” that preceded it.

In their essay, Zoghbi and Warren note that national investment in such research has already paid off, not only in diagnosis and understanding of such diseases but also in the outlook for families afflicted by the disorders.

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