Washington: Autism may be caused by impairment within a group of key enzymes which have a significant bearing on brain development, a new study has found. Problems with a key group of enzymes called topoisomerases can have profound effects on the genetic machinery behind brain development and potentially lead to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), researchers said. Scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have described a significant advance in the hunt for environmental factors behind autism and lends new insights into the disorder`s genetic causes. "Our study shows the magnitude of what can happen if topoisomerases are impaired," said senior study author Mark Zylka, associate professor in the Neuroscience Center and the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at UNC. "Inhibiting these enzymes has the potential to profoundly affect neurodevelopment - perhaps even more so than having a mutation in any one of the genes that have been linked to autism," said Zylka.
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