Neuroarchaeologists Uncover Original Alzheimer’s Gene Mutation
Kenneth S. Kosik, Harriman Professor in Neuroscience at UC Santa Barbara has discovered the age and origin of E280A, a gene mutation that has caused early-onset Alzheimer’s in a Columbian family with an unusually high incidence of the gene.
It was discovered to have appeared sometime around the 16th century and has origins in the Iberian Peninsula. Current results point to a single founder dating to the period of Spanish colonization of present day Columbia.
While most genetic factors only increase the risk for Alzheimer’s rather than guaranteeing the disease will develop, the extremely rare E280A mutation all but assures that the carrier will get Alzheimer’s at an early age.