Israeli Researchers Discover Evolutionary Gene Associated with Autism

Ynetnews reports: A team of Israeli researchers reportedly discovered a unique evolutionary signature in genes associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that could lead to a better understanding of the genetic nature of the syndrome.

That, in turn, could lead to a range of targeted therapies for the syndrome.

The discovery could “aid in better understanding the biological mechanisms involved in autism development,” said Dr. Idan Menashe, the lead researcher and co-author of The Unique Evolutionary Signature of Genes Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (published in the medical journal Behavior Genetics). Menashe said the discovery would allow scientists to focus on a specific biological target when developing future therapies for autism.

In a study conducted with Mr. Erez Tsur and Prof. Michael Friger of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva, the researchers found that 651 gene sequences taken from autistic individuals held common characteristics of autism-associated genes in contrast to other disease-related genomes.

The finding could provide an important opening toward understanding the genetic basis of the syndrome.

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