Scientists have been unable to replicate work showing an association between oxytocin receptor genes and autism.
Random changes in gene expression can cause genetically identical embryos to develop different traits, according to a study of worms published in Nature. The findings suggest that haphazard movements of molecules could partly explain why autism-associated mutations don’t always cause the same symptoms.
The protein that is mutated in Rett syndrome controls the expression of other genes by changing the way DNA packs into a cell, rather than turning genes on or off, according to a study published in Molecular Cell.
The ability to recognize faces and interpret facial expressions is programmed partly by genes and inherited separately from other traits, according to three independent studies published this year.
Genetic variations that tweak the brain’s release of oxytocin — a hormone involved in social bonding and establishing trust — may increase the risk of developing autism or traits of the disorder, according to three new studies published in the past few months.
Deletions or duplications of chromosomal segment 16p11.2 — previously reported as a key autism region — are seen in people with developmental delays and speech and behavioral problems, but not necessarily autism. That’s the finding from two large studies published last week of people carrying these rare genetic variations.