Geneticist James Noonan explains how the complex function of CHD8, the leading candidate for autism risk, points to a way to unravel the mechanisms underlying autism.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
CHD8, a gene that regulates the structure of DNA, is the closest thing so far to an ‘autism gene,’ suggests a study published today in Cell. People with mutations in this gene all have the same cluster of symptoms, including autism.
CHD8, a gene that has emerged as one of the strongest risk factors for autism, regulates the expression of more than half of a set of ‘high-confidence’ risk genes for the disorder. The unpublished data were presented Saturday at the 2014 International Meeting for Autism Research in Atlanta.
Sequencing studies over the past few years have made a dramatic and unexpected discovery: Many of the mutations in individuals with autism are in genes that regulate chromatin, which helps package DNA in the cell nucleus, say Gerald Crabtree and Aryaman Shalizi.
A new candidate gene for autism, CHD8, may account for up to 0.4 percent of cases of the disorder, according to research published today in Science. CHD8 is one of six genes identified that together may contribute to one percent of autism cases.
Large-scale swapping of genetic material between chromosomes may play an important role in autism, according to a study published 27 April in Cell.