quarta-feira, 17 de setembro de 2014

New clues connect altered patterns of DNA tags to autism

Kate Yandell
16 September 2014
Since the 1970s, scientists have known that autism is at least in part genetic. They are now investigating whether autism risk is also influenced by epigenetic modifications — chemical tags that bind DNA and DNA packaging proteins and influence gene expression. Changes in these chemical tags may help explain how environmental factors, such as infection during pregnancy or aparent’s age, can alter autism risk.
Two new studies reveal changes in DNA methylation, a subtype of epigenetic modification, in autism and explore theories about where such alterations originate, whether in the womb or in sperm prior to fertilization.

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