The Alzheimer’s Genome Project™ was launched in 2005; the first phase of the study led to the identification of more than 100 new candidate genes for Alzheimer’s disease.
This was the first large-scale, family-based study of the human genome specific to Alzheimer’s disease—and the first to report novel Alzheimer’s disease genes with statistical significance.
A crucial step was taken to identify the genes associated with Alzheimer’s risk-as well as all of the DNA variants and mutations in those genes that increase or decrease risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This was accomplished by Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), which was used to read the entire genome of individuals with Alzheimer’s-all 3 billion base pairs of DNA across all 23 pairs of chromosomes. Our researchers were able to identify nearly 1,000 new genetic mutations, all of which have either a destructive or protective role with the disease. In identifying these new gene mutations, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and his team effectively have identified the key biological causal agents that drive Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain.