U.S. researchers looked at the DNA of about 1,000 children with autism and their families and discovered gene sets of copy number variations, or CNVs, that are associated with impaired synapses and other defective biological functions linked to autistic behavior. "Because the gene alterations that we found influence brain development, our hope is that they may eventually provide clues to developing diagnostic tests as well as treatments for children with autism," said Dr. Josephine Elia, co-author of the study that was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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