New perspective needed for role of major Alzheimer’s gene

Scientists’ picture of how a gene strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease harms the brain may have to be revised, researchers at the School of Medicine have found. Washington University’s David M. Holtzman, MD, says leading researchers recently agreed that targeting this gene is a promising approach for gaining a better understanding of and improving treatments for the disease.

Altering eye cells may one day restore vision

Doctors may one day treat some forms of blindness by altering the genetic program of the light-sensing cells of the eye, according to School of Medicine scientists. Working in mice with a disease that causes gradual blindness, the researchers reprogrammed the cells in the eye that enable night vision.

Study of half siblings provides genetic clues to autism

When a child has autism, siblings are also at risk for the disorder. New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that the genetic reach of the disorder often extends to half siblings as well. The discovery is giving scientists new clues to how autism is inherited.

The gene-environment enigma

A new study shows that the environment interacts with DNA in ways that are difficult to predict, even in simple organisms like single-celled yeast, which complicates the prospects for personalized medicine. 

Gene scan helps identify cause of inherited blindness

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have scanned the entire genome of mice for genes that help build photoreceptors, the light-sensing cells of the eye. The results have already helped researchers identify the gene that causes a form of retinitis pigmentosa, a type of inherited blindness in humans.