Gene May Offer Clue Why Autism Risk Is Fourfold Higher in Boys
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By Marilyn Chase
May 19 (Bloomberg) -- A common variant of a gene may increase autism
risk and explain why boys face a fourfold increase of having the developmental disorder compared with girls, scientists reported.
The researchers analyzed the DNA of 1,046 members of families with at least two sons affected by autism. Inside chromosome 17, a hotspot of previous autism studies, these families harbored a variant of a gene called CACNA1G, said Stanley F. Nelson
, professor of human genetics at the University of California
Los Angeles, in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The gene by itself is not the likely a risk factor for autism, Nelson said. The finding could help researchers understand how a change in the gene may work in tandem with other factors to lead to the disorder marked by impaired language, social interactions and rigid behaviors, he said.
“If replicated, this study could be a very compelling addition to the autism field,” said Hakon Hakonarson
, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the genome center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Hakonarson, who wasn’t involved in the UCLA study, previously proposed the role of another gene called cadherin 10 in the disease.
Previous studies have found the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders is slightly less than 1 in 100 for boys and about 1 in 400 for girls, Hakonarson said in a telephone interview. These disorders aren’t the product of a single gene defect, but most likely the result of many genes interacting in concert with environmental factors, he added.
Just how CACNA1G contributes to autism risk isn’t known, UCLA’s Nelson said. Previous research has shown it normally helps to move calcium between cells. The UCLA team said in a statement that the gene variant also appears in the DNA of nearly 40 percent of the population.
“This alternate form of CACNA1G consistently increased the correlation to autism spectrum disorder, suggesting that inheriting the gene may heighten a child’s risk of developing autism,” said Nelson in a statement.
The UCLA team said its next step will be to sequence the gene -- figure out how its component amino acids are arranged -- to identify the exact alteration linked to autism risk.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health
, a unit of the National Institutes of Health
in Bethesda Maryland, and Cure Autism Now
This article would appear to disprove the theory that governments are carrying out gene experiments because according to the scientists above. No one gene causes Autism and its likely the effect of both gene variation and enviromental factors. The genes in mention appear to be more prevalent in boys. So what if these genes are mutating but are still in the procces of doing so, in to the creation of a new D.NA strand. new genes that will ultimately evolve in to a new form of bieng, or an evollutionary leap.
Could it be possible? or could the government be actively effecting these genes through external radiation or internaly via some form of medication?