Saturday, April 21, 2012

Genes Associated With Autism Also Related to Schizophrenia

Scientists have identified 33 genes associated with autism and related disorders, and they say several of the genes also appear to be altered in people with schizophrenia. Of the 33 genes, 22 were identified as associated with autism for the first time, according to the study, which currently appears online and is scheduled for publication in the April 27 print issue of the journal Cell. "By sequencing the genomes of a group of children with neurodevelopmental abnormalities, including autism, who were also known to have abnormal chromosomes, we identified the precise points where the DNA strands are disrupted and segments exchanged within or between chromosomes," senior study author James Gusella, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Human Genetic Research, said in a hospital news release. "As a result, we were able to discover a series of genes that have a strong individual impact on these disorders." "We also found that many of these genes play a role in diverse clinical situations -- from severe intellectual disability to adult-onset schizophrenia -- leading to the conclusion that these genes are very sensitive to even subtle perturbations," Gusella added. The researchers screened the genomes of 38 people with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. A significant number of the genes linked with autism also appear to be associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Read more of the Health Day article HERE.
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