By comparing the DNA of those with and without autism, researchers were able to identify several genes related to autism. Scientists say that autism, a complex disorder, could be caused by as many as 50 genes.
The findings point researchers in the right direction toward developing drugs to treat the disorder.
“What we’re discovering in this study is that these genes appear to be affecting similar biochemical pathways in the brain, and so then, if we can develop drugs that can help to repair or restore that pathway, this eventually could be extremely helpful as a treatment,” said Dawson.
For parents like Romano, the studies hold promise to change the destiny of those with autism by finding a cure. While it won’t come overnight, this research opens the door to understanding the genetic mysteries of autism.
“There are so many steps down the road before we can develop these medications,” Dawson said. “But this is the first step — and without this step, we would never get there.”