Children with Williams syndrome — a rare genetic disorder that leads to mental retardation and overt friendliness — hold stereotypes based on gender, but not race, according to a report published in Current Biology. Because those with Williams syndrome don’t have social fear, the study suggests racial stereotypes are based partly on fear.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Rare or common, inherited or spontaneous, mutations form the core of autism risk.
Variations in two genes needed to form connections between brain cells may be associated with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study published 25 March in Molecular Autism. Some variants in the genes seem to increase susceptibility to autism, whereas others protect children from developing the disorder.
Some brain areas involved in speech are larger and some smaller in children with autism compared with healthy controls, according to a series of imaging studies conducted by a Boston research group.
Two independent teams have identified the genetic culprits of three rare, inherited diseases by sequencing the genomes of several members of the same family. As the cost of whole-genome sequencing plummets, this family-based approach will reveal candidate genes not just for rare diseases but for common, complex disorders such as autism, experts say.
Two independent teams have discovered key molecular steps in the way a single gene disrupts the connections between neurons in individuals with Angelman syndrome. Because the gene, UBE3A, has also been linked to autism, the findings could help scientists understand and treat a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.