New screening technique turns up genes tied to microcephaly, scientists say, and could be used for other developmental disorders

Scientists in Vienna have developed a new human tissue screening technique that has identified previously unknown genes involved in causing microcephaly, a rare genetic disorder, and that could one day be used to identify unknown genes tied to other conditions. 

 In a study published Thursday in Science, researchers screened lab-grown human brain tissues for 172 genes thought to be associated with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with smaller-than-normal brains and have severe mental impairments. The search revealed 25 new genes linked to this rare neurological condition, adding to the 27 already known genes tied to microcephaly. The researchers also uncovered the involvement of certain pathways that were previously unknown to be connected to the disease.

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