PARIS, France, April 1 / PRNewswire / -- Scientists working at IntegraGen SA announced today that they have successfully identified a gene associated with autism. Although the gene has never been implicated in autism before, it is known to be involved in synaptic signal transmission processes. Knowledge of this gene will contribute to the understanding of the complex genetics involved in this serious disorder and its discovery could pave the way for earlier, more accurate diagnosis and better treatment and management.
Dr Jan Mous, CEO of IntegraGen commented on today's announcement:
"Whilst these results need to be confirmed in more detailed studies, everyone in the Company is extremely excited about these initial findings. Autism is widely thought to be increasing in prevalence and there is a great need for earlier and more accurate diagnosis. We are confident that by delivering a better molecular understanding of the etiology of autism and related disorders, we can make a major contribution to both improved diagnosis and therapy of this disease that so dramatically affects the lives of many families."
IntegraGen is a personalized medicines company developing molecular diagnostics for complex genetic diseases. Its unique GenomeHIP (Genome Hybrid Identity Profiling) technology is revolutionizing the speed at which disease genes can be identified. Using this technology, scientists at IntegraGen compared the whole genomes of 232 family members suffering from autism provided through the Autism Genetic Resources Exchange (AGRE) program. The precise locations of five disease-related loci were identified in just two months and a gene significantly associated with autism was found within one of these loci in less than six months.
Commenting on the discovery, Dr. Jorg Hager, the Chief Scientific Officer at IntegraGen who led the research, explained further:
"The gene we have identified codes for a synaptic protein that is involved in modulating neuronal signals. The fact that we were able to find this autism-associated gene in such a short period highlights the immense power of our gene identification technology and gives us confidence that we will be able to identify further genes at the remaining loci at a similar speed." A patent has been applied for and the findings will be published in full once they have been further validated on additional patient collections.
Autism is a complex genetic disorder and is believed to involve the combined action of several susceptibility genes. The identification of genes involved in the disease will contribute towards fully understanding the disease and developing a much needed ways to help diagnose the condition earlier in a child's life, so that appropriate management and education can be implemented.
Source: IntegraGen SA