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In an article published in the journal Cell, Zylka lab shows how a genetic mutation disables a regulatory molecular switch, creating an enzyme that cannot be turned off and leading to abnormal brain development and autism.

Mark Zylka, PhD

Mark Zylka, PhD, and lab is the first to show how one gene mutation disables a molecular switch and causes autism.

“Genetic studies are showing that there will be about 1,000 genes linked to autism. This means you could mutate any one of them and get the disorder. We found how one of these mutations works,” said Zylka.

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