Scientists Uncover Pathway Behind Gene Linked to Mental Disorders

La Jolla, CA (Scicasts) — A gene linked to mental disorders helps lays the foundation for a crucial brain structure during prenatal development, according to Salk Institute research published January 14, 2016 in Cell Reports. The findings reveal new mechanistic insights into the gene, known as MDGA1, which may bring a better understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders in people, says Carlos Perez-Garcia, the study’s lead author and a staff researcher in the laboratory of Professor Dennis O’Leary, holder of the Vincent J. Coates Chair in Molecular Neurobiology. Signs of autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often take years to manifest. Studying suspect disease genes in the brain early in life could prove valuable in the development of new treatments or interventions. More than a decade ago, O’Leary’s group discovered MDGA1, which codes…


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