Genetic methodologies are having a rapidly increasingly impact on studies of the normal and diseased nervous system. To date, more than 200 genes have been identified that cause or contribute to neurological disorders. It is essential that neuroscientists exploit the power of modern molecular genetics and use the information becoming available from sequencing of the human genome.
The Neurogenetics program area supports research of genes that cause neurological disorders; molecular mechanisms through which disease genes act; animal models and in vitro techniques for studying pathways of gene function; genetically-based studies of neuronal patterning, migration, connectivity, and cognitive/behavioral function; and the genetic basis of normal neural development and function. The cluster promotes collecting family data and applying molecular genetic methodologies for gene identification, and development of gene-based therapeutics for neurological disorders and pharmaceuticals targeted to specific gene products. The Neurogenetics cluster also develops resources for neurogenetics research, such as tissue and information registries, atlases of gene expression and function, and mutagenesis and phenotyping methodologies.