Synaptic, transcriptional and chromatin genes disrupted in autism

Original research article by S. De Rubeis et al. (2014).

Read the article here.

In one of the largest whole exome studies to date, researchers analyzed 15,480 DNA samples—which included over 3,800 samples from individuals diagnosed with features of autism, intellectual disability, developmental delay, and/or other health concerns. By studying such large number of samples, the researchers were looking to identify new or undescribed genetic causes of autism.Of the 33 different genes identified in children with autism, 15 genes were already known to be associated with features of autism and have already been well described. Eleven “newer” genes were identified– SUV420H1, ADNP, BCL11A, CACNA2D3, CTTNBP2, CDC42BPB, APH1A, GABRB3, NR3C2, SETD5, and TRIO –  this study provides evidence that these genes are associated with the features of autism(because whole exome sequencing is a newer technology and our understanding of the genetic causes of autism is still growing, until now we had not seen a large enough number of children with changes in these genes to make any conclusions). In addition, seven other genes identified in this study are being described for the first time as autism risk genes: ASH1L, MLL3 (KMT2C), ETFB, NAA15, MUY9B, MIB1, and VIL1.