Mutations In A Suspect Gene May Give Rise To Autism, Schizophrenia

Recent advances in genomic technology have suggested that several hundred genes are likely involved as risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. These disorders arise from abnormalities that occur when the brain is still developing.

Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., have pinpointed a gene linked to these disorders that seems to be crucial for normal brain structure in prenatal development. The findings, which appear in an open-access article in the Jan. 14 issue of Cell Reports, shed new light on the mechanistic workings of a gene called MDGA1, previously implicated in autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Signs of these disorders often take years to manifest or may not show up until adolescence, young adulthood or even adulthood, and studying how certain genes function early in life may be able to aid drug discovery and the development of new treatments for autism and related disorders.

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Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism


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