A person runs in front of a building lit in blue to celebrate the world's awareness of autism awareness. EFE / Villar López
More than a dozen institutions around the world have collaborated in the most complete analysis of the brain as far as inter alia combining the molecular effects that some genetic variants have on the brain with autism spectrum diseases and schizophrenia.
Since the completion of Human Genome Project 2013, researchers have discovered genetic variants – small changes in the DNA sequence, so there are no two identical genomes associated with neuropsychiatric diseases and these studies reveal new mechanisms for these diseases.
The research series published today provides a roadmap for the development of a new generation of treatments for psychiatric diseases, according to a statement from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).
This work "provides some missing links that were necessary to understand the mechanisms of psychiatric disease," says Dr. Daniel Geschwind from UCLA and leading author of two of the ten studies.
Everyone is addicted to the PsychENCODE Consortium, an interdisciplinary effort established in 2015, and is intended to detect the molecular mechanisms behind schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorders.
In the last decade, researchers conducted genetic studies in people with psychiatric diseases and compared them with the healthy individuals to detect which genes have different sequences in the past, although their findings often led to more questions than answers.
A starting point
The experts not only discovered the incidence of genes linked to these diseases, but also found that hundreds of DNA regions between the genes – called regulatory DNA – seemed to have a relationship.
Researchers know that the DNA regulating sections can control when, where and how genes are turned on and off, but find out which "regulating regions" affect which genes and thus RNAs and proteins encoded by the genes. " It's not easy. "
The set of new data – essentially a detailed model of the human brain's internal molecular function – is now available as a starting point for other researchers to study the disease mechanisms and the possible goals for the drugs.
"This resource is so wide that they can begin by choosing a disease associated with a genetic variant and going deep to discover which molecular networks have on the brain," said Geschwind. EFEfuturo