Parkinson disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative condition associated with degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the zona compacta of the substantia nigra. There is increasing evidence that genetic factors play a role in the etiology of PD, although genetic heterogeneity is likely. An autosomal dominant syndrome with many similarities to sporadic PD has been mapped to 4q21-22 in a large Italian pedigree and has been found to be due to mutation of the alpha-synuclein gene. However, this gene appears to account for only a minority of PD, and a susceptibility locus for autosomal dominant parkinsonism has recently been mapped, on 2p13. Autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism (JP), which shows marked clinical similarity to PD, maps to 6q25.2-q27. We found linkage to this region in a group of 15 families from four distinct ethnic backgrounds. A full genomic screen excluded other candidate regions. We have constructed a detailed genetic map of the linked region and have mapped the position of the manganese superoxide dismutase gene (SOD2). Recombination events restricted the JP locus to a 6.9-cM region and excluded SOD2. The apparent homozygosity for null alleles at D6S955 in one family suggested a deletion and finer localization of the JP locus.
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