Genetics of the epilepsies: Promethean dream or impossible mission? Volume 21, issue 3, juillet-août-septembre 2009

Institut de neurobiologie de la Méditerranée (INMED), Inserm UMR901, équipe « génétique des épilepsies isolées et associées » (GEIA), parc scientifique de Luminy, BP 13, 13273 Marseille cedex 09, France

In the last decade, progress in the genetics of the epilepsies has mainly been obtained by identifying genes, most of which encoding ion channel subunits, that cause rare epileptic syndromes with simple genetic inheritance. In the recent years and thanks to the most recent advances in genome knowledge and analysis, genetic studies have also focused on the systematic search for susceptibility genes that may participate, through various types of mechanisms (sequence or copy number variations), to the more common forms of epilepsy. Whatever the mode of inheritance and the type of mutation, linking the huge information generated by the genetic analyzes to the more laborious functional studies of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, represents an exciting challenge for the next decade.