According to Scripps Research Institute, damage to the gene Dyrk1a sets off a cascade of problems in the development of the brain. Specifically, it results in abnormal growth-factor signaling. The Dyrk1a gene is associated with autism. This results in underdeveloped neurons and have smaller than average brain size. In this study, mice were used as test subjects. The mice with the damaged Dyrk1a showed smaller brain size compared to the normal mice. Page says that “this study suggests there may be a point of convergence for multiple autism causes.” This finding can help develop treatment that can treat many different autisms. They can use genetic mapping and use common molecular target therapy to treat autisms that stem from genes that set off a similar cascade of problems.
Caption: The brain on the right is the underdeveloped brain with the damaged Dyrk1a gene.