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.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Taking antidepressants while pregnant may slightly increase the risk of having a child with autism, reports a study published 4 July in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Children who express a subset of genes — including one located in the autism-associated chromosomal region 16p11.2 — at higher or lower levels than normal benefit from treatment with the antipsychotic drug risperidone, according to a study published 7 June in the Pharmacogenomics Journal.
A new computer algorithm has identified the gene responsible for a newly discovered human disease, researchers report this week in The American Journal of Human Genetics. Unlike traditional methods, the algorithm takes into account both the odds of a particular genetic variant being associated with the disorder and the variant’s effect on protein function.
Taking prenatal vitamins for three months before conception and four weeks after could lower the risk of having a child with autism, particularly for women who carry certain genetic variants, according to a study published in the July issue of Epidemiology.
Spontaneous and inherited mutations in SHANK3 both inhibit the protein’s role at synapses, the junctions between neurons, according to a study published 24 May in Molecular Psychiatry.
A new online database that compiles genomic sequence information for 162 mouse strains shows that classical laboratory strains have limited genetic diversity, according to a report published 29 May in Nature Genetics.
Mice with a mutation in SHANK3, a leading autism candidate gene, show moderate social defects, including less-than-normal interest in other mice. The findings, published 27 May in Cell, suggest that mutations in different sites on the gene can lead to different behaviors. This paper was retracted on 17 January 2013. Associate director of research Alan Packer discusses the implications of the retraction here.
Individuals with autism have multiple mutations in a pathway that functions in the mitochondria, the energy center of the cell, according to a study published 27 April in the European Journal of Human Genetics. They also have higher-than-average numbers of variants in pathways involved in metabolism, gene expression and the regulation of cell division.
A new analysis of children with autism and their unaffected parents provides the best evidence to date that mutations in multiple genes may work together to cause autism and related disorders.