Hypothesis examines genes' brain war

March 21, 2006 at 8:04 PM
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LONDON, March 21 (UPI) -- Researchers from Britain and Canada have devised the so-called "imprinted brain hypothesis" they say explains the evolutionary genomic causes of autism.

The hypothesis suggests that competition between genes from an autistic child's parents leads to a brain imbalance that results in poorer social skills while often boosting mechanical abilities.

"The imprinted brain hypothesis underscores the viewpoint that the autism spectrum represents human cognitive diversity rather than simply (a) disorder or disability," said researcher Bernard Crespi of Simon Fraser University.

"Indeed, individuals at the highest-functioning end of this spectrum may have driven the development of science, engineering and the arts through mechanistic brilliance coupled with perseverant obsession," he said.

Crespi and Christopher Badcock of the London School of Economics published their hypothesis in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

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