In a new revelation about autism in children, researchers have found 33 genes associated with the risk of the disease that leads to behavioral disorder in the patients.
Autism, which affects an estimated one in 68 kids, was found to be closely linked with 33 types of genes. The study was conducted by an international team of researchers headed by the Autism Sequencing Consortium. According to the research group, deep DNA sequencing may be helpful in spotting the genes linked to the health problem.
Kathryn Roeder, professor from the Department of Statistics and the Lane Center for Computational Biology at the Carnegie Mellon University, said in a news release, “This makes sense because typical development of brain cells require intricate coordination among thousands of genes and appropriate communication between cells to ensure development of the brain.”
For the study, the researchers examined over 14,000 DNA samples collected from the parents, kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and several unrelated people. Based on the analysis of these samples, the researchers identified 33 genes closely associated to critical brain processes that triggered the autism risk. Apart from the 33 identified genes, the researchers also found other 70 genes that could be tied to autism.
Bernie Devlin, from the University of Pittsburgh, expressed confidence in the expansion of the autism genes’ list, saying there are already many more samples that are to be sequenced.
According to Professor Joseph D. Buxbaum, the steps that were added to the study analysis over past research works provided the researchers with the most complete theoretical picture to date of how several genetic changes together affect the brains of children suffering from autism.
“While we have very strong findings in these genetic analyses, newfound genetic discoveries must be moved into molecular, cell and animal studies to realize future benefits for families. A study like this creates an industry for years to come, with labs worldwide checking the brain changes linked to each new genetic finding,” said Buxbaum, a professor of psychiatry, neuroscience and genetics and genomic sciences in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.