What are the Causes of Huntington's disease?


Background to DNA and Genes

Image showing a gene within a chromosome

The human body is made up of cells each containing the entire DNA in the body. Cells use some of this DNA as a template for producing both ‘house-keeping’ proteins that are found in all cells and specialized proteins. Both of these are necessary for the cell to function correctly.


DNA is in the form of genes spread across 23 pairs of chromosomes. There are 2 copies of every gene, one on each chromosome. It is these genes that control whether a protein is transcribed of not.





The gene that controls Huntington’s disease is called Huntingtin. It is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. The following 2 pages show firstly information about the huntingtin gene, how it is mutated and what it controls and secondly the inheritance patterns of the disease...