Therapy room at Lighthouse Autism Center with toys on a table with blue chairs and book shelves above

Clinical Corner, November 2016

Genetic Research Could Lead to Earlier Autism Diagnosis

In an article published in Behavior Genetics, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negeg (BGU) say they’re closer to understanding the genetic basis of autism. The researchers found distinct characteristics in genes associated with autism that distinguish them from other brain-specific genes. They believe this will allow the identification of additional autism genes, leading to an earlier diagnosis of autism.

“We are now a step closer to understanding the genes associated with autism and understanding the biological process involved in the disease,” says Dr. idan Menashe, who along with his colleagues, Erez Tsur and Professor Michael Friger, is a member of the BGU Department of Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

One particularly distinct characteristic of autism genes the researchers found is their exceptional genomic length, which is longer than other brain-expressed genes of closely related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

“Our findings suggest that ASD genes have evolved under complex evolutionary forces, which have left a unique signature that can be used to identify new ASD candidate genes,” the researchers add.

To read the full article, please visit sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006102944.htm.

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