Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex genetic trait. Analyses to identify genetic variants that increase susceptibility to MS have primarily focused on candidate genes, either in family linkage investigations or in association (linkage disequilibrium) studies in sporadic cases and control subjects. Most of the candidate genes considered to date either influence immune function or encode structural myelin proteins. Recently, three preliminary whole genomic surveys were completed, and they reveal multiple loci of possible genetic linkage that are worthy of further study. No convincing evidence for a single strong locus has emerged from analysis of the three studies. Linkage promises to focus the future choice of candidate genes for further investigation.
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