Accounting for gender increases the power of family-wide studies linking genetic mutations with autism, according to a study published in December in Molecular Psychiatry. The researchers use this approach to identify two candidate genes for the disorder.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Spontaneous mutations that change a single DNA base account for a large proportion of cases of unexplained mental retardation, according to a study published in the December Nature Genetics.
The pattern of interactions among different genes in yeast cells changes in response to disease-like conditions, in this case a DNA-damaging agent, according to a study published 3 December in Science. Mapping epistasis — how various cellular factors work together — is key to understanding complex disorders, such as autism.
A gene involved in epigenetics — regulation of gene expression by modifying DNA, but without altering the sequence — is associated with autism in families that have only one child with the disorder, according to a study published in November.
An antipsychotic drug often prescribed to treat irritability in children with autism may be more helpful — and cause fewer side effects — depending on an individual’s genetic make-up.
Loss of activity of FOXP1, a member of a family of genes that regulate gene expression, leads to general behavioral defects, including delays in language, according to a study published in November in The American Journal of Human Genetics.
The first genome-wide linkage analysis of more than 1,200 families has identified regions implicated in autism as originating from either the paternal or maternal copies of chromosomes.
A point mutation in the autism-linked protein neuroligin-3 (NLGN3), seen in individuals with autism, causes the protein to misfold and localize to the wrong site in the cell, according to a study published in September in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.