Multiple sclerosis is not an inherited disease, however, we do know that genes play a large role in a person’s susceptibility to develop MS. For this reason MS can cluster in some families. Short tandem repeats, or microsatellites, are short sequences of DNA that are repeated many times in a row on a strand of DNA within our genetic code. They are a normal part of our DNA and are found in many places in the human genome. However, in some cases abnormally long stretches of STRs have been associated with a number of disorders, including Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The severity of these diseases can often be associated with the length of the STR region.
In this Incubator Grant, Dr McComish and colleagues, will investigate families where MS occurs in many family members. He will look at the STRs in the genomes of family members to determine if there is any variation in the lengths of STRs between family members that have MS, and those without the disease. In those that have MS, he will determine if the length of the STRs are associated with the age of onset or the severity of their MS.
This novel method for investigating familial MS may provide clues about why the severity and progression of the disease is so diverse in all people with MS, and may open the way to a new area to be studied in people with MS.
Updated: 10 January 2018
Updated: 02 January, 2018