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Gene linked to common intellectual disability

A/Prof Cheryl Shoubridge has taken a step forward in unravelling the causes of a commonly inherited intellectual disability, finding that a genetic mutation leads to a reduction in certain proteins in the brain.

ARX is among the top four types of intellectual disability linked to the X-chromosome in males. So far, 115 families, including many large Australian families, have been discovered to carry an ARX (Aristaless related homeobox) mutation that gives rise to intellectual disability.

“There is considerable variation in the disability across families, and within families with a single mutation. Symptoms among males always include intellectual disability, as well as a range of movement disorders of the hand, and in some cases severe seizures,” says Associate Professor Cheryl Shoubridge, Head of Molecular Neurogenetics.

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