Washington, June 26 (ANI): An international team of researchers claims to have uncovered the patterns of genetic changes in mental retardation.
Mental retardation is caused by many different, yet individually rare DNA deletions and duplications.
The researchers have identified certain DNA changes responsible for the condition.
During the study, the scientists took DNA from over 150 individuals with mental retardation and compared it with the genomes of 5,000 mice, each had single genes disrupted.
They found that the DNA changes associated with mental retardation contained greater than expected numbers of genes whose loss in mice also affected the nervous system.
The large amounts of data from humans and mice were critical in revealing a relatively small set of genes that are relevant to mental retardation in humans.
This study provides strong evidence that genomic deletions and duplications frequently cause mental retardation.
By narrowing down the list of genes linked to the disorder, the research will help to enable genetic testing and diagnosis.
In the future, the approach used in this study could also prove effective in highlighting genes altered in other medical conditions such as schizophrenia and autism.
The study is published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics. (ANI)