Alzheimer genetics in the post-GWAS era

Genome-wide
association studies (GWASs) published in the last two years have confirmed the
role of APOE as a genetic risk-factor
for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease as well as proposing a host of other
potential candidate genes. However, despite their success in revealing common
genetic factors for complex diseases, it is unclear whether GWASs are able to
identify the underlying genetics of Alzheimer’s disease.

In
a review published recently in Alzheimer’s
Research & Therapy
, Ertekin-Taner summarises genetic studies
in Alzheimer’s disease carried out before the GWAS era as well as findings from
recent GWASs and suggests that alternative approaches are necessary in order to
identify the remaining genetic susceptibility factors associated with the
disease. In particular, reassessing GWAS results using novel approaches,
such as combining biologically relevant quantitative phenotype and GWAS data,
may lead to the identification of genetic factors that influence Alzheimer’s
disease risk and possible biological pathways, something which could translate into therapeutic potential.

Alex Kroll – Senior Assistant Editor, Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy

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