Autism Research in Middle Eastern Families

Neurogeneticist Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD, Chief of Genetics at Children's Hospital Boston, led the interdisciplinary research team, which included clinical collaborators in Turkey, Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In all, they identified five chromosome deletions affecting at least six identifiable genes, one of which was also mutated in some European and American children with autism. When Walsh compared notes with Michael Greenberg, PhD, director of Children's Neurobiology Program, it turned out that Greenberg's lab had found three of the genes to be part of a molecular network that orchestrates the refinement of brain connections. Here, Walsh discusses the study, what it means in light of other recent genetic discoveries, and the concept of multiple "autisms" which may benefit from different treatment approaches.

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