Science Market Update
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The University of Illinois at Chicago was recently awarded $9.6 million in the form of a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish an Autism Center of Excellence. The center will be one of five funded centers in the United States, and it is the only one in the Midwest. Nationally, the NIH awards $100 million for the Autism Centers of Excellence research program.
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If you watch the evening news in Northern California, it's not unusual to hear the results of studies being done at Sacramento's UC Davis Medical Center campus, especially if those results are raising eyebrows. But an autism study out of the M.I.N.D. Institute at UCDMC has gone national recently, appearing on dozens of media outlets, as well as in Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics. The news? Research study results showing a corellation between a mother's obesity during pregnancy and increased risk for autism in her child. More specifically, women with metabolic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension were 1.6 times more likely to have children with autism spectrum disorders than healthy women.
Michael E. Zwick is a geneticist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and his recently published study in October's Genomics journal on Identifying Autism Susceptibility Genes explores a new PCR technology for rapid, targeted, and highly accurate sequencing and identification of novel genetic variants affecting X chromosome genes. Autism is four times more common in men, who possess only one copy of the X chromosome, and Zwick's research explores this possible correlation.
A team of Genomics Researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle have recently uncovered several sporadic gene mutations in the protein producing areas of the genome, called the exome, that may be linked to autism spectrum disorders. The scientists used the latest molecular biology techniques as well as parallel sequencing to simultaneously examine the exomes of several children with a certain form of autism.