Biotech Updates

Geneticists Investigate Genomes of Children with Mental Disabilities

April 20, 2012

Medical geneticists from different research institutions are sequencing the genomes of children with unexplained forms of intellectual disability and development delay. These projects aim to provide genetic diagnosis that will help scientists devise therapies to treat the disorders. Such project highlights the logistical and ethical challenges of bringing genome sequencing to the consulting room.

"The overarching theme is that genome-based diagnosis is now hitting mainstream medicine," said Han Brunner, a medical geneticist at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, who leads one of the projects.

According to André Reis, a medical geneticist at Erlangen University Hospital in Germany, there are a number of genes that can go wrong and result to intellectual disabilities. The scientists estimate that there are about 1,000 genes linked to brain functions.

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