Gene critical for brain development discovered

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Scientists at A*STAR have discovered a gene, KATNB1, which is responsible for the nervous system development in humans. By sequencing the genome of individuals of normal height but with a very small head size, the scientists revealed that these individuals had mutations in the KATNB1 gene, indicating that this gene is important for proper human brain development. Microcephaly (characterized by a ‘small head’) is a condition diagnosed by measuring the baby’s head circumference at birth. Dr. Bruno Reversade’s team has published the data in Neuron, Cell Press. Dr Reversade said, “We will continue to search for other genes important for brain development as they may unlock some of the secrets explaining how we, humans, have evolved such cognitive abilities.”

Prof Birgit Lane, Executive Director of IMB, said, “This is one of a small number of genes that scientists have found to be vital for brain development. The work is therefore an important advance in understanding the human brain. The team’s findings provide a new platform from which to look further into whether – and how – this gene can be used for targeted therapeutic applications.” Prof Hong Wanjin, Executive Director of IMCB, said, “This coordinated effort shows the increasingly collaborative nature of science. As the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of research evolves, so do the networks of collaborations between research institutes at A*STAR and across continents.”

The above story is based on materials provided by A*Star Agency for Science, Technology and Research: 

http://bit.ly/1AYiGkr

Full details of the discovery can be accessed online at: 

http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273%2814%2901098-8

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.