Background. We recently described a genomic pathway approach to study complex diseases. We demonstrated that models constructed using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within axon guidance pathway genes were highly predictive of Parkinson disease (PD) susceptibility, survival free of PD, and age at onset of PD within two independent whole-genome association datasets. We also demonstrated that several axon guidance pathway genes represented by SNPs within our final models were differentially expressed in PD. Methodology/Principal Findings. Here we employed our genomic pathway approach to analyze data from a whole-genome association dataset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); and demonstrated that models constructed using SNPs within axon guidance pathway genes were highly predictive of ALS susceptibility (odds ratio = 1739.73, p=2.92×10-60), survival free of ALS (hazards ratio = 149.80, p=1.25×10-74), and age at onset of ALS (R2=0.86, P=5.96×10-66). We also extended our analyses of a whole-genome association dataset of PD, which shared 320,202 genomic SNPs in common with the whole-genome association dataset of ALS. We compared for ALS and PD the genes represented by SNPs in the final models for susceptibility, survival free of disease, and age at onset of disease and noted that 52.2%, 37.8%, and 34.9% of the genes were shared respectively. Conclusion/Significant: Our findings for the axon guidance pathway and ALS have prior biological plausibility, overlap partially with PD, and may provide important insight into the causes of these and related neurodegenerative disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)