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Autism and schizophrenia may be caused by the same mutations

That’s the finding of a research group at Trinity College.

Image: Gene Mutation via Shutterstock

RESEARCHERS FROM TRINITY College have found a new way of determining how likely a person is to have autism or schizophrenia.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories (CSHL) in the US have published a new work in the international journal Molecular Psychiatry that shows that the two conditions share genetic mutations.

The work found that mutations to genes that control epigenetic regulation can cause both.

Epigenetic regulation is a process whereby experience and environment orchestrate the function of genes. It is critical to how the brain develops and responds to experience throughout life.

In a collaboration between Trinity College and CSHL, the team performed genetic sequencing analysis on 171 Irish individuals from families where at least one member was affected with schizophrenia.

Trinity Professor in Psychiatry, Aiden Corvin, senior author of the study, said that the findings may prove that autism and schizophrenia are more similar than previously thought.

This is a really exciting finding as it suggests that neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, which hitherto have been seen as different diseases may involve common underlying disease mechanisms.

“This may have implications in the future for how we conceptualize and treat these conditions.”

Read: Trinity researchers identify schizophrenia-causing genetic mutation

Read: What is it like to have a child with autism?

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