OHSU researcher Brian J. O’Roak, Ph.D., helps identify new genetic risk factors for autism

A study published online yesterday in Nature identifies genes that, if mutated, either result in autism or contribute to its risk. Brian J. O’Roak, Ph.D., first author on the study and assistant professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine, worked on the study for the past three years in collaboration with scientists at three other institutions. The study looked at 2,500 families with autistic children and compared siblings with autistic characteristics to those without the disorder. The 27 genes identified represent a small but significant number of genes correlated with autism. Dr. O’Roak will be working with fellow OHSU colleagues to build a research program designed to identify the full spectrum of these genes, believed to number approximately 400. See the OHSU media release here.