A mother's diet before conception can permanently affect how her child's genes function, according to a study published in Nature Communications

The first such evidence of the effect in humans opens up the possibility that a mother's diet before pregnancy could permanently affect many aspects of her children's lifelong health.

The results raise the question of how mutations in PTEN, a general regulator of growth, can have relatively selective effects on behavior and cognitive development.

Mutations in a specific gene that is disrupted in some individuals with autism results in too much growth throughout the brain, and yet surprisingly specific problems in social interactions, at least in mouse models that mimic this risk factor in humans.

By dissecting the genetic basis of these neurodevelopmental disorders, we are gaining fundamental insight into basic physiological mechanisms important for human brain development and function.

An international team of researchers have identified a previously unknown neurodegenerative disorder and discovered it is caused by a single mutation in one individual born during the height of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey about 16 generations ago.The genetic cause of the rare disorder was discovered during a massive analysis of the individual genomes of thousands of Turkish children suffering from neurological disorders.

A newly identified genetic disorder associated with degeneration of the central and peripheral nervous systems in humans, along with the genetic cause, is reported.

By performing DNA sequencing of more than 4,000 families affected by neurological problems, the two research teams independently discovered that a disease marked by reduced brain size and sensory and motor defects is caused by a mutation in a gene called CLP1, which is known to regulate tRNA metabolism in cells. Insights into this rare disorder, the researchers said, may have important implications for the future treatment of more common neurological conditions.

An Oregon State University researcher has found a relationship between motor skill deficiencies and the severity of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in very young children.

The findings, believed to the be the first to show a direct relationship between motor skills and autism severity, indicate that development of fine and gross motor skills should be included in treatment plans for young children with autism.