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:1/27/2016)... CHESTER, Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite ... supplier based in West Chester, Ohio ... their award winning service staff, based in ... technical capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and ... John Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, the ... pharma and publication industries, will provide the data management ... Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis measures ... whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Dovetail Genomics™ LLC today ... beta program for a planned metagenomic genome assembly service. ... company,s metagenomic genome assembly method in a talk on ... Biology & Technology conference in Orlando, Fla. ... highly complex datasets is difficult. Using its proprietary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Global ... treatment clinic in Quito, Ecuador. The new facility will provide advanced protocols and ... from around the world. , The new GSCG clinic is headed by ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ASAE is introducing a hybrid membership model which will ... of joining or renewing through an organizational purchasing model. ... every employee in any size association or AMC office ... member benefits.   John H. Graham, IV ... allow organizations of any size and their employees to ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Benchmark Research, a ... promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles of Chief Medical ... Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in the Austin office, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: