Researchers find many genes related to autism
By LIZ SZABO
Last Modified: Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 10:55 a.m.
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focused on a type of genetic change called “copy number variations,”
places where DNA has been either inserted or deleted. Because genes
include instructions for making proteins, that can lead to an overdose
of a protein, an underdose, a total absence of protein or a
malfunctioning one, Hakonarson says.
much about autism remains a mystery, including the cause of the other
80 percent of cases, says Bryan King, an autism expert at Seattle
Children’s Hospital. Study authors say they need to study the genes of
many more children to get more precise answers about autism’s genetic
But doctors may
one day be able to use these findings to offer parents an early genetic
test to help predict children’s risk of autism, says co-author Louise
Gallagher of Trinity College Dublin.
study also could lead to new drugs, because it points out new genetic
targets, says co-author Anthony Monaco of the Wellcome Trust Centre for
Human Genetics in the United Kingdom.