SA scientists have traced the origin of Parkinson’s disease in 40 Afrikaner families back through the generations to a [b]Dutch-German[/b] couple who married in SA in 1668. [s]Business Day[/s] reports that although the work will not immediately help patients with this debilitating condition, it isexpected to help researchers home in on some of the genetic defects that give rise to the disorder, which in turn could lead to new treatments. Researchers from the [b]University of Stellenbosch[/b] traced the genealogy of the families of 48 Parkinson’s patients at the [b]Movement Disorder Clinic[/b] at [b]Tygerberg Hospital[/b] and found 40 of them were descended from a man who came to SA from the [b]Netherlands[/b] in 1661 and a German woman who arrived with her family in the late 1650s. The fact that 40 families with Parkinson’s disease share a common ancestor makes it likely that they also shared common genetic characteristics that gave rise to the condition.
The next step would be to map the genetic blueprint of 15 patients from these families with Parkinson’s disease, and look for common variants among them, said Professor John Carr, a neurologist at the University of Stellenbosch and co-author of the paper.
[link url=http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/health/2014/06/20/scientists-trace-group-of-afrikaners-with-parkinsons-to-common-ancestor]Full Business Day report[/link]
[link url=http://www.samj.org.za/index.php/samj/article/view/7747/5993]SA Medical Journal full article[/link]