Sonic the Hedgehog and Autism

11 Oct

A lot of abstracts come out each day in autism research. Some are controversial. A few make big advances. Many make small advances. One can never tell what one will learn by following the flow of abstracts.

For example. Did you know there is a “Sonic Hedgehog” protein? (Sonic the Hedgehog being a character from video games). A researcher in Saudi Arabia proposes that it might be involved in autism etiology:

Relationship Between Sonic Hedgehog Protein, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Oxidative Stress in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

This probably isn’t one of the “big advances” papers. But, something new, at least to me.

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4 Responses to “Sonic the Hedgehog and Autism”

  1. MikeMa October 12, 2011 at 11:44 #

    A post on FTB looks at a far more promising claim to do with missing gene clusters.
    Link Here.

  2. Ruth/STL October 12, 2011 at 14:16 #

    A very readable book for the non-biologist is Sean Carrol’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” in which he shows how a few genes regulate the timing of development. Hedgehog genes are key to understanding evolution and development (evo-devo).

  3. Anne October 14, 2011 at 09:36 #

    Sonic Hedgehog genes… named by those wacky Drosophila geneticists. Apparently, a mutation in this developmental regulator makes fruit flies spiny.

    Researchers studying different model organisms form their own little communities, and the Drosophila community has a custom of using humorous names. For example, a gene whose variants affect susceptibility to alcohol was named “CheapDate.”

    C. elegans (nematode) geneticists, on the other hand, tend to go for the literal. A gene with a mutation that makes worms short and fat is “dumpy” (dpy), a gene that affects spermatogenesis is “spe.” Maybe we’re all autistic?

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