Autism Mutations May Affect Fetal Brain Development Pathway

Certain brain mutations that cause autism in children affect fetal brain development.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that mutations that cause autism in children are connected to a pathway that regulates brain development. The research, led by Lilia Lakoucheva, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, is published in the journal Neuron.

The researchers studied a set of well-known autism mutations called copy number variants or CNVs. They investigated when and where the genes were expressed during brain development. “One surprising thing that we immediately observed was that different CNVs seemed to be turned on in different developmental periods,” said Lakoucheva.

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