Predicting Autism through Gene Patterns

Sick Kids scientists figure out formula for predicting autism

… By looking at all the available genetic data on autism – the genomes of 3,000 North American and European families … “We’ve stumbled upon the core group of genes that is necessary for human cognition,” said Stephen Scherer, senior scientist at Sick Kids Hospital and lead author of the study published Sunday in Nature Genetics ...

To try to solve the problem, they started looking for patterns in known autism risk genes. “We didn’t look at the gene as an entire unit,” he said. They focused on exons, the protein-coding parts of genes …

“It’s those segments of genes that are turned on very early in brain development and are very highly evolutionarily conserved – those are almost always found to be involved in autism,”  …

“We’re going to try to develop this into a tool that clinicians that use – and that will happen in the next year,” …

Dr. Scherer’s findings open up a novel biological landscape of targets for drug developers looking to treat autism symptoms.

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