23andMe chasing Parkinson’s clues through genomic data mining

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In 2015, 23andMe began inking lucrative research agreements with pharma giants like Genentech and Pfizer, in addition to launching its own R&D program to sift through DNA samples from its more than 2 million customers.

Researchers from 23andMe, Genentech, and the National Institute on Aging published the largest meta-analysis of Parkinson’s disease to date, using data from more than 425,000 individuals—more than three-quarters of whom were 23andMe customers. Building on a smaller study from 2014, the team compared genes from 6,476 self-reported Parkinson’s patients with those of more than 300,000 disease-free 23andMe customers, confirming genetic variants already associated with the disease and turning up 17 new ones.

Genentech’s next step is to sequence the full genomes of 3,000 of 23andMe’s Parkinson’s patients. These volunteers have answered questions about their family history, how quickly their disease is progressing, what treatments they’ve tried and how well they’ve worked. By drilling down into all 3 billion base pairs, the pharma firm hopes to get past the most common traits of Parkinson’s—the ones that each exert a small effect to sum up to the heritability of the disease. Instead, they’re looking for those rare variants, which destroy more biological machinery than average, leaving a trail of rubble that’s easier to track.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: 23andMe is digging though your data for a parkinson’s cure