Turkey is a large country with a young population. Since its birth rate is still high, there are big kindreds with many children, and families can be traced back for several generations. Moreover, there are many consanguineous marriages (>21%) which are mostly among first cousins. With its wealthy historical background and unique geographical position, Turkey has been a crossroad for many civilizations, thus is a rich genetic pool with a high ethnic heterogeneity.
The completion of the Human Genome Project along with the sophisticated genomic technologies developed in the last decade have changed biological paradigms and taught us that almost all diseases, including common and complex disorders, have a genetic origin. It has always been a primary importance to understand the basis for phenotypic diversity caused by mutations on the DNA and gene expression motifs in both healthy and diseased individuals in a population-based manner. The technologies available today are capable of elaborating these differences. The new understanding of biology and the high-throughput genome technologies and research, along with the advanced tools of bioinformatics are expected to pave the ways to better understand the complex molecular interactions in the human DNA. These discoveries will aid early disease diagnosis and treatment, prevention and better risk predictions. Along this line, our aim at NDAL is to become a 'Center of Excellence' in neurodegenerative disease research, with close and intense international collaborations with leading laboratories.