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The co-founder of Google, whose mother Eugenia was diagnosed with the condition 10 years ago, says he may pump more money into Parkinson's research

, San Francisco

Fri 19 Sep 2008 12.24 BSTFirst published on Fri 19 Sep 2008 12.24 BST

This article is 9 years old

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Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google

Photograph: Kimberly White/Reuters

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has revealed his fear that he could develop Parkinson's disease, and has said he may pump more money into research into the condition.

The Russian-born internet billionaire, whose mother Eugenia was diagnosed with Parkinson's 10 years ago, said that a recent DNA test indicated that he had an increased risk of developing the disorder.

Writing on his personal blog, the 35-year-old said that familial Parkinson's was rare, but that he carried the genetic mutation known to be associated with such cases.

"Over the past few years researchers have been honing in on the genes that are responsible for those cases. There is one particular mutation of the LRRK2 gene – known as G2019S – that, while rare even among people with the disease, accounts, in some ethnic groups, for a substantial proportion of familial Parkinson's."

Brin said he discovered he was carrying the mutation after he ran a test provided by 23andMe, the genetic testing startup founded by his wife, Anne Wojcicki.

"The exact implications of this are not entirely clear," he wrote. "Nonetheless it is clear that I have a markedly higher chance of developing Parkinson's in my lifetime than the average person."

He added that having foreknowledge gave him "the opportunity to perform and support research into this disease".

Brin's links to 23andMe are not merely personal. Through Google, he is also an investor in the Californian company, which is one of a number of up-and-coming genomics firms that claim to offer detailed analysis of their customers' DNA risk profile.

23andMe has been on a public relations offensive in recent weeks, running so-called "spit parties" for American socialites, offering them the chance to decode parts of their genetic makeup. It has also slashed the price of its tests by 60%, from $999 to $399.

The sales tactics of such companies have provoked controversy, and earlier this summer Californian officials asked for tighter controls over who could provide the genetic tests.

Brin, who was listed this week by Forbes magazine as America's 13th richest person, is already an active supporter of several Parkinson's-related charities – including the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

This year, along with his parents, Brin set up a $1.5m endowment for the University of Maryland's school of medicine to set up the Eugenia Brin Professorship in Parkinson's disease and movement disorders.