Findings show that many autistic people have a deviation in a portion of their DNA that affects the way brain cells connect with one another. The discovery may lead to treatments.
Researchers have found that many people with autism share common genetic variations, a discovery that may improve diagnosis and offers the promise of developing treatments for the frustratingly mysterious disorder.
Their findings, published in the journal Nature, compared the genomes of thousands of autistic people with those of thousands of people without the disorder -- a massive task that new technology has only recently made possible. The genome is the complex system of DNA coding that builds and runs the human body.
The review showed that most autistic people examined have a genetic variation in a portion of their DNA that affects the way brain cells connect with one another. Scientists also reported a link between autism and small "mistakes" in another DNA segment involved with cell communication. Both reports add weight to the idea that autism is related to problems with the way brain cells connect.
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