Researchers Identify Autism Genes

Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Broad Institute have identified six genes they believe play a crucial role in autism...

Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Broad Institute have identified six genes they believe play a crucial role in autism.

Their study appears in today's issue of the journal Science. The Boston Globe's White Coat Notes blog reported on it:

The researchers studied large Middle Eastern families in which cousins had married and the incidence of autism was high. Genetic analysis showed missing DNA in parts of the genome linked to autism. They discovered six genes along these stretches that are part of the molecular network involved in learning and memory.

One of the study authors, Bullard professor of neurology and professor of pediatrics Christopher A. Walsh, offered hope that pinpointing these genes may facilitate the development of therapies to help children who have, or are at risk for, autism. "Sometimes the genes aren't completely inactive. We know that intensive training or enriching of the environment in animal models has ways of turning genes on that would normally be silent," he told White Coat Notes.

Read the rest of the Globe coverage here.

Read Harvard Magazine's cover story on autism, from the January-February 2008 issue, here.

You might also like

The Roman Empire’s Cosmopolitan Frontier

Genetic analysis reveals a culture enriched from both sides of the Danube.

Tobacco Smoke and Tuberculosis

Harvard researchers illuminate a longstanding epidemiological connection. 

Discourse and Discipline

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences broaches two tough topics.

Most popular

Small-Town Roots

Professors’ humble beginnings, concentration choices, and a mini history of Harvard and Radcliffe presidents

Vita: Fanny Bullock Workman

Brief life of a feisty mountaineer: 1859-1925

Being Black at Work

Realizing the full potential of black employees

More to explore

Illustration of a box containing a laid-off fossil fuel worker's office belongings

Preparing for the Energy Transition

Expect massive job losses in industries associated with fossil fuels. The time to get ready is now.

Apollonia Poilâne standing in front of rows of fresh-baked loaves at her family's flagship bakery

Her Bread and Butter

A third-generation French baker on legacy loaves and the "magic" of baking

Illustration that plays on the grade A+ and the term Ai

AI in the Academy

Generative AI can enhance teaching and learning but augurs a shift to oral forms of student assessment.