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Nature ranks APOE as 5th most studied gene of all time

Thursday, December 7, 2017

APOE, the gene that helped established a genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease and revolutionized our understanding of the condition, ranks as the 5th-most studied gene of all time, according to a new article in the journal Nature.

Although this gene, which codes for an apolipoprotein, had been known about for years, its association with Alzheimer's disease was discovered by the Neurology Department's Allen Roses, MD and colleagues in 1993. Roses, a former chair and four-decade veteran of Duke Neurology, died last year.

For the article, Elie Dolgin and Peter Kerpedjiev conducted an analysis of more than 40,000 papers to examine which genes were most frequently cited in academic journals. TP53, a gene coding for tumor suppression associated with up to half of all cancers, topped the list, followed by TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, which has been a frequent target for cancer and inflammatory diseases.

The article discusses the importance of these genes as well as APOE, both now and when their significance was first revealed. The authors also talk to Ann Saunders, a neurogeneticist and collaborator and spouse of Roses.

Read the full article here.

Image by K. Krause and J. Krzysztofiak, courtesy of Nature