A recent study establishes linkage between a gene variation associated with an increased risk of autism and changes in brain structure.
This may help explain how the gene affects brain function and increases vulnerability for autism.
"This work could lead to the creation of an exciting new line of research investigating the impact of genetics on communication between brain regions."
Although carriers of the common gene variant CNTNAP2-identified as an autism risk gene-may not develop autism, there is evidence of differences in brain structure that may affect connections and signalling between brain regions.
These disruptions in brain connectivity can give rise to functional abnormalities characteristic of neuropsychological disorders such as autism.
The study has been published in the neuroscience journal Brain Connectivity.