Alterations of the gene thousand and one amino-acid kinase 2, known as TAOK2, play a direct role in neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, according to researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Their comprehensive new study confirms earlier research suggesting TAOK2 is involved in autism spectrum disorders.
Neurobehavioral disorders like autism are complex and can involve many genetic defects, called microdeletions. This research suggests that the deletion of this single gene could be used to predict patient outcomes and develop new treatments for people with these disorders.
For this study, which complements research on microdeletion published last month in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers used genetically engineered models and computer algorithms to pinpoint the gene. Results of this latest study were published in Molecular Psychiatry.