Living With Huntington’s

Molecular Biologist Cynthia McMurray:

Dismantling a DNA Destroyer

McMurray Hunts Disease

Molecular biologist Cynthia McMurray seeks the cause of a gene glitch

Huntington’s disease


Do you carry the gene for Huntington’s?

Photo: Matt C. Meyer

Answer: Yes

Everyone carries the gene for Huntington’s

Huntington’s Risk

Risk of having Huntington’s glitch: 1 in 10,000 in general population (1/10000th %)

Risk of having Huntington’s glitch if parent has disease: 50%

With: 50%

Without: 50%

Facts About Huntington’s Disease

Partial Gene Amplification: CAG

The Effects of DNA Damage

McMurray’s Research

Hypothesis #1: Unstable DNA causes instability of motion, thoughts, and moods in Huntington’s disease

Discovery #1: CAG repeats form abnormal looplike structures on parts of DNA, thereby enabling even more CAG repeats

Next Question: What allows the looplike structures to become permanent?

Understanding DNA Damage

What role does McMurray believe these play in Huntington’s?

How is this affected in Huntington’s?

What possible roles might this lipid play in Huntington’s?

Genetic Destiny?

Research Applications

What are some of the ethical and emotional considerations associated with genetic testing for disease risk?