Scientists from Ben-Gurion University of Negev are near on finding out autism's genetic basis, reports claim.
They said that they are findings will help doctors diagnose the disease earlier, which is becoming more rampant worldwide. Neuroscience News reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in every 50 children in the United States, one has autism. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs communication and social skills of a child.
They explained that since 1980s, there's an increase of this disorder, where only one out of 5,000 people were diagnosed with autisms. For this project, Yahoo News reported that the researchers look at 650-genes that were associated with autism. They discovered that there are certain characteristics that differentiate autism genes from other genes.
Idan Menashe, one of the researchers, believes that they are now near on understanding the genes that are associated with autism. He even said that they are close to understanding autism's biological process. He believes that the study will give them the tool in identifying other autism genes, with the use of genetic signatures.
Menashe and his colleagues noticed that the genomic length of autism genes is longer than diseases like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia. They also noticed a unique genomic signature with the help of negative selection when they studied children with autism.
Negative selection is a process of purifying disruptive gene mutations and impedes their replication to the next generation. They explained that they also looked for positive selection but they can't find any evidence of it on the autism genes that they studied.
Positive selection can increase the frequency of autism until it becomes a significant factor in the human population. Menashe concluded that even though the human genome is susceptible to autism, they are going to be only a disorder when they are combined with genetic and environmental factors. He also said that their findings show that autism has evolved from complex evolutionary forces that left unique signatures that can help identify new autism gene candidate.