A variant of the FGF14 gene may decrease the volume of the amygdala, a brain structure needed to interpret emotions in facial expressions, according to results presented on Sunday at the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in Washington, D.C.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Harmful spontaneous mutations may account for up to half the cases of non-inherited schizophrenia.
Children with autism who carry a certain variant of a protein involved in inhibitory signaling have more severe symptoms than those with another variant of the same gene, according to a study published 24 July in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Researchers are creating a population of inbred lab mice with the potential to produce thousands of genetically diverse strains. Experiments using the first of these mice are published in the August issue of Genomic Research.
The brains of teenagers with autism and their unaffected siblings respond similarly to both happy and neutral faces, whereas those of controls seem to prefer happy ones, according to a study published 12 July in Translational Psychiatry.
Including more females in autism research studies will aid the search for genetic and environmental susceptibility factors for the disorder, says genetic psychiatrist Lauren Weiss.
Genetic variants in two autism-associated genes have been linked to repetitive behavior and hyperactivity, two common symptoms of the disorder, according to two studies published in the past few months.
A variant of neurexin 1, a gene linked to both autism and schizophrenia, is associated with less brain matter than normal in healthy individuals, according to a study published 8 June in PLoS ONE.