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October 13, 1999

Parkinson Disease in Twins

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(14):1328-1329. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-14-jbk1013

To the Editor: Dr Tanner and colleagues1 conclude that "No genetic component is evident when the disease begins after age 50 years." However, the data are relevant only to nuclear genetic factors and do not address the potential influence of mitochondrial genetic factors. Since MZ and DZ twins each receive all of their mitochondrial DNA from their mother, differences in concordance rates between MZ and DZ twins cannot be used to address the potential influence of mitochondrial genetic factors. This is a particularly relevant issue in PD, as mitochondrial complex I activity is deficient in PD patients,2 and 2 groups have independently reported evidence that mitochondrial genetic factors account for this complex I deficiency.3,4 The data in the article are interesting and relevant to the question of the role of nuclear genetic factors in PD, but the question of mitochondrial genetic factors was not addressed.

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