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Special Millennium Article
January 2000

Neurogenetics: Three Wishes to Santa Claus

Author Affiliations

From the Hospital S. Sebastião, Santa Maria da Feira and UnIGENe, Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Arch Neurol. 2000;57(1):59. doi:10.1001/archneur.57.1.59

To choose the film or the book of the century or even of the decade, is, of course, an impossible task. The same happens with scientific achievements, particularly in a century of exponential progresses in the neurosciences. However, it is tempting to say that the major achievement was exactly this rate of progress in so many distinct fields.

In the 1990s, neurogenetics has been one of the most rewarding fields of research: year after year, month after month, new genes are discovered and new tools developed. Among these, many transgenic models (knock-outs, knock-ins, knock-downs, and knock-intos) for neurological disorders in mice, yeast, and other organisms are becoming increasingly available. Moreover, not only have new genes for old hereditary diseases been decoded (which is already enabling neurologists to better diagnose, predict, and prevent diseases), but also new genes relevant for the normal development of the nervous system are increasingly being identified. Thus, what might have seemed an aim in itself, the discovery of the human genome, is now most obviously a mere step forward and an initial stage in a complex network of the problems neuroscientists will be challenged to solve.

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