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There are many ongoing studies attempting to determine the genetic contributions to the development of a wide variety of conditions and disorders One such condition is autism Autism is defined as a complex neurodevelopment disability with impairment of social interaction and communication and repetitive behavior Tae-Beom et al Autism has been shown to have a strong genetic component one with highly heterogeneous risk factors Roine et al While autism is a multifactorial trait its large range of different manifestations are thought to result mainly from genetics rather than environmental conditions Roine suggests that the phenotype of autism is more related to the underlying biology of said autism than to its physical expression One of the candidate genes thought to contribute to the onset of autism is the reelin gene The reelin gene RELN is the portion of DNA that codes for the synthesis of the protein reelin This gene is large it encodes for an mRNA segment of approximately 12 kilo base pairs 12000 base pairs DeSilva et al The protein reelin is an extracellular protein that controls neural cell positioning during brain development and which is thought to continue to function into adulthood Its continued contributions after brain development are largely debated however DeSilva et al The phenotypic expression of reelin activity after mutation is described as an extensive disruption of the organization of brain structures and the conditions that accompany such a disruption DeSilva et al A partial lack of reelin expression is thought to contribute to a wide variety of neurodevelopment conditions including autism In order to more fully understand autism the scientific community must first understand the underlying genetic components that cause the disorder as well as how it varies as a result of those genetic componentsReelin expression is an important neurodevelopment factor one which must be understood before considering the nuances of any neurodevelopment disorder Many conditions are thought to be linked to a lack of reelin expression including lissencephaly
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