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

Question:

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?