Autism linked to mutations in ‘junk’ DNA and not specific genes, study reveals

Written by Sharon Salt, Editor

Using artificial intelligence techniques, researchers have revealed that mutations in so-called ‘junk’ DNA may cause autism. The study is the first to functionally link such mutations to the neurodevelopmental condition. The research, which has been published in Nature Genetics, utilized machine learning to analyze the whole genomes of 1790 individuals with autism and their unaffected parents and siblings. These individuals had no family history of autism, which indicates that the cause of their conditions was most likely spontaneous rather than inherited mutations. The analysis predicted the ramifications of genetic mutations in parts of the genome that do not encode proteins,...

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