It was a sort of perfect storm that led to the publication of the first whole-genome map of genetic variability in Parkinson’s disease. Demetrius Maragnore, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic, has been studying the disease since 1989, he says, and has had grants for genetic work in the field for going on 10 years. Until recently, his team approached Parkinson’s with “traditional genetic studies” looking at candidate genes and familial aggregation, he says. “Frankly, those approaches have been very disappointing for Parkinson’s disease,” he adds.

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