Using nearly 1,700 brain bank samples, researchers at Health Sciences, University of California - Los Angeles, have discovered genetic variants in the DNA, associated with psychiatric diseases such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. A major study has linked many of these changes in DNA to their molecular workings in the brain, revealing new mechanisms of diseases. Scientists not only discovered genes linked to the diseases, they also uncovered hundreds of areas of DNA found in between genes, called regulatory DNA, that also seemed to have an association. Scientists know these sections of DNA can control when, where and how genes are turned on and off in many ways.
Researchers revealed thousands of RNA molecules that are either spliced differently-- with different sections of genetic material--or present at higher or lower levels in the brains of people with one of the psychiatric diseases.