Genetic Revelations

Researchers discover the gene that causes Lou Gehrig's disease

PAGES ARE BEING ADDED TO THE BOOK OF GENETICS at an accelerating pace these days. Researchers announced that they have identified a defective gene that appears to cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. About 30,000 Americans suffer from the disorder, which causes degeneration of the nerves that carry signals to muscles. The trouble in some cases, scientists reported in Nature, apparently lies in the gene that directs production of an enzyme that mops up free radicals. These substances are metabolism's nasty residue.

In the same journal, scientists revealed that multiple sclerosis, the crippling nervous-system disease, may be...

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