Scientists at Northwestern University near Chicago have made a significant stride in the quest to understand autism and other intellectual disabilities. Researchers at the school published a study in Neuron outlining why a specific gene mutation causes intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder in children.
The study identifies a gene called Usp9x. Individuals with mutations in this gene grow fewer synapses in the brain. When fully functional, the gene protects a protein called akyrin-G that is responsible for growing an stabilyzing synapses. These synapses help cells communicate, and are especially important in developing brains in order for children to learn.
See the full story here.