Researchers have identified a new gene, the TBK1- gene, as a risk factor in Motor Neuron Disease. The mutation in combination with environmental and life style factors could lead to ALS.
Whole genome sequenced DNA-profiles from Project MinE have been used as reference set and hava as such made a great contribution to the identification of this new ALS-gene.
The majority of cases of ALS (sporadic ALS, where ALS is not running in the family) are caused by a combination of subtle genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. These subtle genetic factors in the majority of cases of ALS (sometimes known as susceptibility genes) may increase someone’s risk of developing ALS, but they do not solely cause the disease (they must be present in combination with a number of other factors in order to tip the balance for someone to develop ALS).
Dr Brian Dickie, Director of Research Development of the British MND Association, commented on the research “This research has identified TBK1 as a new genetic risk factor in ALS/ MND. However, it is important to note that this gene would need to be combined with other environmental and lifestyle risk factors in order to ‘tip the balance’ and cause ALS/ MND.”