Using a basic genetic difference between men and women, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has uncovered a way to track down the source of a neurological disorder in a young girl.
TGen’s discovery relies on a simple genetic fact: Men have one X and one Y chromosome, while women have two X chromosomes. This women-only factor was leveraged by TGen investigators to develop a highly accurate method of tracking down a previously unrecognized disorder of the X-chromosome.
Geneticists at Heidelberg University Hospital’s Department of Molecular Human Genetics have used a new mouse model to demonstrate the way a certain genetic mutation is linked to a type of autism in humans and affects brain development and behavior. In the brain of genetically altered mice, the protein FOXP1 is not synthesized, which is also the case for individuals with a certain form of autism. Consequently, after birth the brain structures degenerate that play a key role in perception. The mice also exhibited abnormal behavior that is typical of autism.
A new study published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, by researchers at Cardiff University School of Medicine and the University of Bristol, suggests that there is a spectrum of attention, hyperactivity/impulsiveness and language function in society, with varying degrees of these impairments associated with clusters of genes linked with the risk for ADHD.
Viewing these functions as dimensions or spectrums contrasts with a traditional view of ADHD as a disease category.
In 1999, Dr. Huda Zoghbi and colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine identified the genetic cause of Rett syndrome (a neurological disorder that begins after birth) MECP2 mutation. Too little of the MeCP2 protein associated with the gene causes the girls whom it affects to regress, gradually losing their speech, the use of their hands and many cognitive functions.