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Scientists Link 'Sets' of Genetic Abnormalities to Autism Risk - featured March 4, 2011

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[Source: US News and World Report/HealthDay]

While the genetic underpinnings of autism are enormously complex, new DNA research is honing in on sets of abnormal genes that may play a role in the disorder.

Researchers from the Center for Biomedical Informatics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) said that, while other scientists have theorized about a connection between gene mutations, impaired brain development, and the onset of autism, their work is the first to establish the link.
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The medical problem, the CHOP researchers said, has to do with genetically driven disturbances in the way nerve cells communicate (via synapses) as well as the manner in which these communications are handled by key neural "messengers," or neurotransmitters.

"This large study is the first to demonstrate a statistically significant connection between genomic variants in autism and both [nerve cell] synaptic function and neurotransmission," senior author Peter S. White, a molecular geneticist and director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics, said in a hospital news release.

Read the Rest of this Article on HealthDay.com

Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter 4 March 2011