Why is it in the news?
- Scientists used genetically engineered fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to probe the molecular intricacies underlying the progression of Huntington’s disease.
About Huntington’s Disease
- HD is a genetic disorder characterized by its impact on the brain, leading to a triad of symptoms: progressive motor dysfunction, cognitive decline, and psychiatric manifestations.
- It follows an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance, meaning that an individual has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene if one parent carries it. The disease typically manifests in mid-adulthood.
- The root cause of HD lies in a mutation in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. This mutation results in the production of an abnormal form of the huntingtin protein.
- The huntingtin gene (HTT) was identified in 1993, marking a crucial milestone in understanding the genetic basis of Huntington’s disease.
- Individuals with HD often exhibit uncontrollable jerking or writhing motions, known as chorea.
- Difficulties in coordination and balance are common, contributing to the overall motor dysfunction.
- The disease progresses, impacting essential functions like speech and swallowing.
- HD affects cognitive abilities, leading to changes in thinking and reasoning.
- Memory functions are impaired, contributing to the overall cognitive decline.
- Individuals may experience challenges in concentrating and making decisions.
- As of now, there is no cure for HD. Treatment strategies focus on managing symptoms to enhance the quality of life for individuals living with HD.