SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide information of value to individuals. For that reason it is important to remember that like all information we provide, the studies we describe in SNPwatch are for research and educational purposes only. SNPwatch is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice; you should always seek the advice of your physician or other appropriate healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of any disease or other medical condition.Nature Genetics, researchers have identified for the first time a specific genetic variant that is significantly associated with essential tremor. Their findings connect essential tremor to a gene involved in nerve cell maintenance and survival, and could pave the way to the development of new therapeutics. In a combined analysis of 752 subjects with essential tremor from Iceland, Austria, Germany and the United States and 15,797 controls, Stefansson et al found that the G version of rs9652490 in the LINGO1 gene is associated with increased odds of the condition. Carrying one G increases the odds of essential tremor by 1.55 times compared to two As. The approximately 5% of the population with European ancestry with two Gs has 2.40 times increased odds. The authors note that because of the way study subjects with essential tremor were recruited, they probably represent a more genetically-rooted, early onset form of the disease than would be seen in the population in general. LINGO1 encodes a protein that is involved in regulating nerve cell growth, survival and specialization. Increased LINGO1 levels have been seen in people with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. This suggests that drugs made to block the action of LINGO might be valuable for treating some diseases of the central nervous system. The authors suggest that their finding linking a change in LINGO1 to essential tremor should put this condition at the top of the list of diseases to be assessed. “Association of essential tremor with LINGO1 opens up a new field in the research into essential tremor, and it is our hope that LINGO1 will point the way to new treatments for severe cases of the disease,” the authors conclude.