More 'autism genes' have been identified - but they may not hold the entire answer

An NHS Choices review of the research

Scientists have identified "rogue genes that could unlock the riddle of autism”, according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper says that new research is a ‘breakthrough that could help millions,’ potentially improving the understanding and treatment of autism.

The research involved three separate studies, two from the US and one from the University of Oxford, which carried out analysis of the genetic material in children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents, comparing their genes with genetic samples from unaffected people.

This identified several variations in the genetic sequence which are possibly linked to autism. All of the genes concerned appeared to be involved in the formation and function of nerve cells in the brain. These findings offer further understanding of the development of ASD and hope for possibly developing future treatments. However, a lot more research will be needed. It is also likely that many non-genetic factors are involved in the development of ASD. While this area of research is important, genetic variations may not hold the entire answer.

Read the full review.

First published in 2009

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