Navigation Links
Researchers find new genetic pathway behind neurodevelopmental disorders
Date:12/6/2012

Researchers at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, have discovered a new genetic process that could one day provide a novel target for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disability and autism.

The research study, which appears in the December issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, was led by Carl Ernst, a Douglas Institute researcher, an assistant professor in McGill's Department of Psychiatry and a Canada Research Chair in Psychiatric Genetics. Ernst and his colleagues found that genetic mutations that negatively affect brain development can occur in a gene family of previously unknown function in the human genome.

According to the World Health Organization, neurodevelopmental disorders affect one in six children in industrialized countries. Impairing the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system, neurodevelopmental disorders encompass a broad range of conditions, including developmental delay, autism spectrum disorders and cerebral palsy. People with neurodevelopmental disorders can experience difficulties with language, speech, learning, behaviour, motor skills and memory.

Mutations in genes are thought to underlie many neurodevelopmental disorders, but all genes important for brain development found to date are in a single pathway. Genes are coded in DNA that gives way to RNA, which gives way to protein. Proteins form the functional unit of the body and are the major players in all biological activity. Prior to the current study, all genetic mutations important for neurodevelopmental disorders, occured in genes that make protein.

The work of Ernst and his research team identified an important shortcut in the process of making functional molecules for brain development. By sequencing the genomes of 200 people with neurodevelopmental disorders and chromosomal abnormalities, and comparing the results to more than 15,000 control samples, the researchers made a surprising discovery: some individuals had mutations in a gene that did not make protein.

"Our discovery tells us that mutations in genes that code only for RNA and do not make protein can have a functional impact and lead to neurodevelopmental abnormalities," Ernst says. "In previous studies of brain development, RNA was just considered a middle player one that only served as a template for the production of proteins."

By opening up a new area of study involving RNA, Ernst aims to advance understanding of the underlying causes of neurodevelopmental disorders. "We hope to shine a new light on how the brain develops," he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anne Quirion
anne.quirion@douglas.mcgill.ca
514-443-9990
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers investigate impacts of climate change on rare tropical plants
2. Researchers identify proteins that indicate which kidney tumors are most likely to spread
3. Microchoreography: Researchers use synthetic molecule to guide cellular dance
4. Einstein researchers receive 2 Grand Challenges Explorations grants to combat HIV and TB
5. University of Tennessee researchers find fungus has cancer-fighting power
6. UC Davis researchers aid effort to sequence the complex wheat genome
7. Joslin researchers increase understanding of genetic risk factor for type 1 diabetes
8. Fracking in Michigan: U-M researchers study potential impact on health, environment, economy
9. NREL researchers use imaging technologies to solve puzzle of plant architecture
10. NIH-funded researchers show possible trigger for MS nerve damage
11. Temple-Penn researchers identify calcium accelerator to keep cell power supply going
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 24, 2017 Research ... Vehicle Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to ... ... poised to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , a provider ... today announced the release of the SentiVeillance ... improved facial recognition using up to 10 surveillance, ... computer. The new version uses deep neural-network-based facial ... it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... March 20, 2017 At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor ... biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with ... this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest German biometrics company the ... fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Cambridge Semantics , the leading provider ... Data Lake® (Anzo SDL) product won ‘Best Text Analytics and Semantic Technology ... , Cambridge Semantics’ Anzo SDL uses Knowledge Graphs based on semantic graph models ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... 25, 2017 , ... In this webinar , which ... considerations needed for designing ideal guide RNAs and DNA oligo or plasmid repair ... double-strand breaks in genomic DNA has greatly simplified strategies for precise gene editing ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 26, 2017 , ... ... leading company for the improvement of crop productivity and economics for the food, ... collaboration. The scope of the agreement includes the research and development of microbiome-based ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... ... , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to announce the Charm® ROSA® Tetracycline-SL ... Shipments (NCIMS) Laboratory Committee and Appendix N Committee as a drug residue test kit ... NCIMS voted at its annual meeting in April, 2015 to establish a pilot program ...
Breaking Biology Technology: