Gene flaw causes small brain - scientists

Oct 03, 2010

Microcephaly, a disorder which leads to an abnormally small brain, has been traced in part to a flaw in a gene called WDR62 that plays a key role in the development of neurons, according to studies published on Sunday by the journal Nature Genetics.

Microcephaly, signalled by a small head and receding forehead, can be extremely disabling, handicapping speech and motor functions. There is no cure.

The WDR62 abnormality is one of a range of suspected to microcephaly. The condition also has environmental causes, including foetal exposure to alcohol, drugs and viruses such as chicken pox and German measles.

The studies are headed by C. Geoffrey Woods at Cambridge University and Christopher Walsh at the Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts.

Working separately, they spotted the WDR62 flaw by looking at the genomes of families with a history of microcephaly and by examining human and mouse embryonic cells in the lab.

Explore further: Genetic mutation found to cause ovarian insufficiency in women under 40

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User comments : 4

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desotojohn
1 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2010
Is it possible to test the remains of the Hobbit for this genetic flaw? Does any of the presumably modern relatives that live in the area have the flaw?
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (9) Oct 03, 2010
Democrats and atheists should be tested for this flaw immediately.
Birthmark
5 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2010
May there be a possibility of tapping into this and increases the neurons in the brain? If so when can sign up :D
knikiy
1 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2010
Democrats and atheists should be tested for this flaw immediately.

Also potatoes and tomatoes.

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