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Title: The genetics of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Author: Schymick, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 8283
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterised clinically by rapidly progressive paralysis leading ultimately to death from respiratory failure. There is no cure for ALS and no definitive explanation for the onset and rapid progression of motor neuron degeneration. Genetics is a known risk factor for a portion of familial cases. However, the role of genetics in the commoner sporadic form of the disease is poorly understood, although numerous genes have been implicated. The primary aim of this thesis project is to uncover the genetic causes that underlie ALS. To accomplish this goal, the main focus of this thesis is to perform genome-wide association analysis of sporadic ALS using high density SNP arrays. This thesis describes the first and the largest genome-wide association studies of ALS to date. Results demonstrate that there is no single large effect susceptibility variant underlying a large proportion of ALS, such as ApoE in Alzheimer’s disease. However, the genotyping data has been made publically available and the digital nature of this data means that it is a resource that can grow with future studies. Beyond genome-wide association, this thesis describes work using linkage, haplotype and sequence analysis to investigate the genetic overlap between ALS and frontotemporal dementia. Lastly, this thesis presents a novel method for linkage analysis using high throughput SNP arrays. Ultimately, it is hoped that by uncovering the genes that cause ALS, such knowledge will shed light on the pathogenic mechanisms underlying motor neuron degeneration and potentially lead to new rational therapies effective in slowing or even halting disease progression.
Supervisor: Talbot, Kevin ; Davies, Kay ; Traynor, Bryan ; Hardy, John ; Singleton, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Genetics (life sciences) ; Medical sciences ; Biology (medical sciences) ; Genetics (medical sciences) ; Motor neurone degenerative disease ; Neurogenetics ; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ; motor neuron disease ; genome-wide association ; linkage ; association