What makes a good candidate gene for autism? In recent years, researchers have identified hundreds of genes that may be involved in the disorder by looking across the genome for variations associated with autism. Yet, even these big studies do not tell the full story.
John Rubenstein, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, has been investigating DLX genes, which help to direct the development of nerve cells in the brain. Some people with autism show changes in these genes but, so far, genome-wide studies haven’t suggested they are involved.
In a video interview with SFARI at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, Rubenstein discussed two complementary ways to identify possible genes involved in autism: start with the DNA, or start with a hypothesis.
For more reports from the 2010 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, please click here.