A multi-center team of researchers has found that abnormal multiplication of the alpha-synuclein gene may increase the risk of developing familial and sporadic Parkinson’s disease, and may offer scientists with a new way of studying neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Several years ago, researchers identified mutations in the alpha synuclein gene in a few large families in whom the disease was “unusually common.” Since then, mutations in several other genes have also been linked to familial forms of Parkinson’s disease.

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Researchers suggest that genetic variations could influence the side effects people experience when using synthetic cannabinoids, the International Business Times reports.

An analysis has examined the makeup of researchers on Twitter and what they share, Nature News reports.

At Stat News, Jim Kozubek argues that the Broad Institute is pushing the boundary of what a nonprofit is.

In PNAS this week: gut microbes may affect honeybee weight, phenotype and gene expression changes in DiGeorge syndrome, and more.