While most people use yeast to make bread or beer, researchers have been busy in Chicago, USA using yeast to fight MND. They have found that the MND gene FUS behaves similarly in yeast as it does in motor neurones. They propose that yeast may be a good model for studying MND.

One of the largest genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease is the e4 version of a gene called ApoE. Researchers in France have tried to link this gene to MND. They found that the e4 ApoE gene was increased in bulbar onset MND, but only in men. The actual contribution of this gene to MND is unknown.

Researchers from France have also examined genes that control iron metabolism and their possible association to MND. They found that there was a significant association with a gene called SLC11A2. The researchers propose that this implicates iron metabolism in MND and means SLC11A2 could potentially modulate MND progression.

Source: International MND research update - March 2011, Dr Justin Yerbury for MNDRIA

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