Michael E Talkowski

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (67)690.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: CAPZB is an actin-capping protein that caps the growing end of F-actin and modulates the cytoskeleton and tethers actin filaments to the Z-line of the sarcomere in muscles. Whole-genome sequencing was performed on a subject with micrognathia, cleft palate and hypotonia that harbored a de novo, balanced chromosomal translocation that disrupts the CAPZB gene. The function of capzb was analyzed in the zebrafish model. capzb(-/-) mutants exhibit both craniofacial and muscle defects that recapitulate the phenotypes observed in the human subject. Loss of capzb affects cell morphology, differentiation, and neural crest migration. Differentiation of both myogenic stem cells and neural crest cells requires capzb. During palate morphogenesis, defective cranial neural crest cell migration in capzb(-/-) mutants results in loss of the median cell population, creating a cleft phenotype. capzb is also required for trunk neural crest migration, as evident from melanophores disorganization in capzb(-/-) mutants. In addition, capzb over-expression results in embryonic lethality. Therefore, proper capzb dosage is important during embryogenesis, and regulates both cell behavior and tissue morphogenesis.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Analysis of de novo CNVs (dnCNVs) from the full Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) (N = 2,591 families) replicates prior findings of strong association with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and confirms six risk loci (1q21.1, 3q29, 7q11.23, 16p11.2, 15q11.2-13, and 22q11.2). The addition of published CNV data from the Autism Genome Project (AGP) and exome sequencing data from the SSC and the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC) shows that genes within small de novo deletions, but not within large dnCNVs, significantly overlap the high-effect risk genes identified by sequencing. Alternatively, large dnCNVs are found likely to contain multiple modest-effect risk genes. Overall, we find strong evidence that de novo mutations are associated with ASD apart from the risk for intellectual disability. Extending the transmission and de novo association test (TADA) to include small de novo deletions reveals 71 ASD risk loci, including 6 CNV regions (noted above) and 65 risk genes (FDR ≤ 0.1).
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Neuron
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    ABSTRACT: Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a common cardiac valve disease that affects nearly 1 in 40 individuals. It can manifest as mitral regurgitation and is the leading indication for mitral valve surgery. Despite a clear heritable component, the genetic aetiology leading to non-syndromic MVP has remained elusive. Four affected individuals from a large multigenerational family segregating non-syndromic MVP underwent capture sequencing of the linked interval on chromosome 11. We report a missense mutation in the DCHS1 gene, the human homologue of the Drosophila cell polarity gene dachsous (ds), that segregates with MVP in the family. Morpholino knockdown of the zebrafish homologue dachsous1b resulted in a cardiac atrioventricular canal defect that could be rescued by wild-type human DCHS1, but not by DCHS1 messenger RNA with the familial mutation. Further genetic studies identified two additional families in which a second deleterious DCHS1 mutation segregates with MVP. Both DCHS1 mutations reduce protein stability as demonstrated in zebrafish, cultured cells and, notably, in mitral valve interstitial cells (MVICs) obtained during mitral valve repair surgery of a proband. Dchs1(+/-) mice had prolapse of thickened mitral leaflets, which could be traced back to developmental errors in valve morphogenesis. DCHS1 deficiency in MVP patient MVICs, as well as in Dchs1(+/-) mouse MVICs, result in altered migration and cellular patterning, supporting these processes as aetiological underpinnings for the disease. Understanding the role of DCHS1 in mitral valve development and MVP pathogenesis holds potential for therapeutic insights for this very common disease.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Nature
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    ABSTRACT: Copy-number variants (CNVs) have been the predominant focus of genetic studies of structural variation, and chromosomal microarray (CMA) for genome-wide CNV detection is the recommended first-tier genetic diagnostic screen in neurodevelopmental disorders. We compared CNVs observed by CMA to the structural variation detected by whole-genome large-insert sequencing in 259 individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from the Simons Simplex Collection. These analyses revealed a diverse landscape of complex duplications in the human genome. One remarkably common class of complex rearrangement, which we term dupINVdup, involves two closely located duplications ("paired duplications") that flank the breakpoints of an inversion. This complex variant class is cryptic to CMA, but we observed it in 8.1% of all subjects. We also detected other paired-duplication signatures and duplication-mediated complex rearrangements in 15.8% of all ASD subjects. Breakpoint analysis showed that the predominant mechanism of formation of these complex duplication-associated variants was microhomology-mediated repair. On the basis of the striking prevalence of dupINVdups in this cohort, we explored the landscape of all inversion variation among the 235 highest-quality libraries and found abundant complexity among these variants: only 39.3% of inversions were canonical, or simple, inversions without additional rearrangement. Collectively, these findings indicate that dupINVdups, as well as other complex duplication-associated rearrangements, represent relatively common sources of genomic variation that is cryptic to population-based microarray and low-depth whole-genome sequencing. They also suggest that paired-duplication signatures detected by CMA warrant further scrutiny in genetic diagnostic testing given that they might mark complex rearrangements of potential clinical relevance.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The American Journal of Human Genetics

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: The 16p11.2 600 kb copy-number variants (CNVs) are associated with mirror phenotypes on BMI, head circumference, and brain volume and represent frequent genetic lesions in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia. Here we interrogated the transcriptome of individuals carrying reciprocal 16p11.2 CNVs. Transcript perturbations correlated with clinical endophenotypes and were enriched for genes associated with ASDs, abnormalities of head size, and ciliopathies. Ciliary gene expression was also perturbed in orthologous mouse models, raising the possibility that ciliary dysfunction contributes to 16p11.2 pathologies. In support of this hypothesis, we found structural ciliary defects in the CA1 hippocampal region of 16p11.2 duplication mice. Moreover, by using an established zebrafish model, we show genetic interaction between KCTD13, a key driver of the mirrored neuroanatomical phenotypes of the 16p11.2 CNV, and ciliopathy-associated genes. Overexpression of BBS7 rescues head size and neuroanatomical defects of kctd13 morphants, whereas suppression or overexpression of CEP290 rescues phenotypes induced by KCTD13 under- or overexpression, respectively. Our data suggest that dysregulation of ciliopathy genes contributes to the clinical phenotypes of these CNVs. Copyright © 2015 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Autism is a multifactorial neurodevelopmental disorder affecting more males than females; consequently, under a multifactorial genetic hypothesis, females are affected only when they cross a higher biological threshold. We hypothesize that deleterious variants at conserved residues are enriched in severely affected patients arising from female-enriched multiplex families with severe disease, enhancing the detection of key autism genes in modest numbers of cases. Here we show the use of this strategy by identifying missense and dosage sequence variants in the gene encoding the adhesive junction-associated δ-catenin protein (CTNND2) in female-enriched multiplex families and demonstrating their loss-of-function effect by functional analyses in zebrafish embryos and cultured hippocampal neurons from wild-type and Ctnnd2 null mouse embryos. Finally, through gene expression and network analyses, we highlight a critical role for CTNND2 in neuronal development and an intimate connection to chromatin biology. Our data contribute to the understanding of the genetic architecture of autism and suggest that genetic analyses of phenotypic extremes, such as female-enriched multiplex families, are of innate value in multifactorial disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Nature
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    ABSTRACT: The CAG repeat expansion in the Huntington's disease gene HTT extends a polyglutamine tract in mutant huntingtin that enhances its ability to facilitate polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2). To gain insight into this dominant gain of function, we mapped histone modifications genome-wide across an isogenic panel of mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) and neuronal progenitor cell (NPC) lines, comparing the effects of Htt null and different size Htt CAG mutations. We found that Htt is required in ESC for the proper deposition of histone H3K27me3 at a subset of ‘bivalent’ loci but in NPC it is needed at ‘bivalent’ loci for both the proper maintenance and the appropriate removal of this mark. In contrast, Htt CAG size, though changing histone H3K27me3, is prominently associated with altered histone H3K4me3 at ‘active’ loci. The sets of ESC and NPC genes with altered histone marks delineated by the lack of huntingtin or the presence of mutant huntingtin, though distinct, are enriched in similar pathways with apoptosis specifically highlighted for the CAG mutation. Thus, the manner by which huntingtin function facilitates PRC2 may afford mutant huntingtin with multiple opportunities to impinge upon the broader machinery that orchestrates developmentally appropriate chromatin status.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic rearrangements are a common cause of human congenital abnormalities. However, their origin and consequences are poorly understood. We performed molecular analysis of two patients with congenital disease who carried de novo genomic rearrangements. We found that the rearrangements in both patients hit genes that are recurrently rearranged in cancer (ETV1, FOXP1, and microRNA cluster C19MC) and drive formation of fusion genes similar to those described in cancer. Subsequent analysis of a large set of 552 de novo germline genomic rearrangements underlying congenital disorders revealed enrichment for genes rearranged in cancer and overlap with somatic cancer breakpoints. Breakpoints of common (inherited) germline structural variations also overlap with cancer breakpoints but are depleted for cancer genes. We propose that the same genomic positions are prone to genomic rearrangements in germline and soma but that timing and context of breakage determines whether developmental defects or cancer are promoted. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Cell Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Genome editing via CRISPR/Cas9 has rapidly become the tool of choice by virtue of its efficacy and ease of use. However, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing in clinically relevant human somatic cells remains untested. Here, we report CRISPR/Cas9 targeting of two clinically relevant genes, B2M and CCR5, in primary human CD4+ T cells and CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Use of single RNA guides led to highly efficient mutagenesis in HSPCs but not in T cells. A dual guide approach improved gene deletion efficacy in both cell types. HSPCs that had undergone genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9 retained multilineage potential. We examined predicted on- and off-target mutations via target capture sequencing in HSPCs and observed low levels of off-target mutagenesis at only one site. These results demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9 can efficiently ablate genes in HSPCs with minimal off-target mutagenesis, which could have broad applicability for hematopoietic cell-based therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Cell Stem Cell
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    ABSTRACT: Truncating mutations of chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 8 (CHD8), and of many other genes with diverse functions, are strong-effect risk factors for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), suggesting multiple mechanisms of pathogenesis. We explored the transcriptional networks that CHD8 regulates in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) by reducing its expression and then integrating transcriptome sequencing (RNA sequencing) with genome-wide CHD8 binding (ChIP sequencing). Suppressing CHD8 to levels comparable with the loss of a single allele caused altered expression of 1,756 genes, 64.9% of which were up-regulated. CHD8 showed widespread binding to chromatin, with 7,324 replicated sites that marked 5,658 genes. Integration of these data suggests that a limited array of direct regulatory effects of CHD8 produced a much larger network of secondary expression changes. Genes indirectly down-regulated (i.e., without CHD8-binding sites) reflect pathways involved in brain development, including synapse formation, neuron differentiation, cell adhesion, and axon guidance, whereas CHD8-bound genes are strongly associated with chromatin modification and transcriptional regulation. Genes associated with ASD were strongly enriched among indirectly down-regulated loci (P < 10(-8)) and CHD8-bound genes (P = 0.0043), which align with previously identified coexpression modules during fetal development. We also find an intriguing enrichment of cancer-related gene sets among CHD8-bound genes (P < 10(-10)). In vivo suppression of chd8 in zebrafish produced macrocephaly comparable to that of humans with inactivating mutations. These data indicate that heterozygous disruption of CHD8 precipitates a network of gene-expression changes involved in neurodevelopmental pathways in which many ASD-associated genes may converge on shared mechanisms of pathogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Structural variation (SV) is a significant component of the genetic etiology of both neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders; however, routine guidelines for clinical genetic screening have been established only in the former category. Genome-wide chromosomal microarray (CMA) can detect genomic imbalances such as copy-number variants (CNVs), but balanced chromosomal abnormalities (BCAs) still require karyotyping for clinical detection. Moreover, submicroscopic BCAs and subarray threshold CNVs are intractable, or cryptic, to both CMA and karyotyping. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing using large-insert jumping libraries to delineate both cytogenetically visible and cryptic SVs in a single test among 30 clinically referred youth representing a range of severe neuropsychiatric conditions. We detected 96 SVs per person on average that passed filtering criteria above our highest-confidence resolution (6,305 bp) and an additional 111 SVs per genome below this resolution. These SVs rearranged 3.8 Mb of genomic sequence and resulted in 42 putative loss-of-function (LoF) or gain-of-function mutations per person. We estimate that 80% of the LoF variants were cryptic to clinical CMA. We found myriad complex and cryptic rearrangements, including a "paired" duplication (360 kb, 169 kb) that flanks a 5.25 Mb inversion that appears in 7 additional cases from clinical CNV data among 47,562 individuals. Following convergent genomic profiling of these independent clinical CNV data, we interpreted three SVs to be of potential clinical significance. These data indicate that sequence-based delineation of the full SV mutational spectrum warrants exploration in youth referred for neuropsychiatric evaluation and clinical diagnostic SV screening more broadly.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Genome editing has attracted wide interest for the generation of cellular models of disease using human pluripotent stem cells and other cell types. CRISPR-Cas systems and TALENs can target desired genomic sites with high efficiency in human cells, but recent publications have led to concern about the extent to which these tools may cause off-target mutagenic effects that could potentially confound disease-modeling studies. Using CRISPR-Cas9 and TALEN targeted human pluripotent stem cell clones, we performed whole-genome sequencing at high coverage in order to assess the degree of mutagenesis across the entire genome. In both types of clones, we found that off-target mutations attributable to the nucleases were very rare. From this analysis, we suggest that, although some cell types may be at risk for off-target mutations, the incidence of such effects in human pluripotent stem cells may be sufficiently low and thus not a significant concern for disease modeling and other applications.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Cell Stem Cell
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    ABSTRACT: What's already known about this topic? Chromothripsis is a recently described phenomenon whereby a single catastrophic event leads to multiple chromosome breaks and subsequent repair through nonhomologous end joining. The result can present karyotypically as a complex rearrangement and occurs both congenitally and in cancer cells. What does this study add? We report, to our knowledge, the first case of congenital chromothripsis uncovered prenatally through a combination of G-banded karyotype analysis and whole-genome sequencing by jumping libraries. The G-banded karyotype initially suggested the involvement of five chromosomes and six breakpoints. Whole-genome sequencing further resolved this event to include nine total breakpoints that disrupt seven independent genes, all in the presence of a normal microarray result. This emphasizes the complementarity that whole-genome sequencing can provide to the initial karyotype analysis as a reflex test when a rearrangement is detected. We also discuss the dilemma of prognosis with this finding.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Prenatal Diagnosis
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    ABSTRACT: Reciprocal copy-number variation (CNV) of a 593 kb region of 16p11.2 is a common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet it is not completely penetrant and can manifest in a wide array of phenotypes. To explore its molecular consequences, we performed RNA sequencing of cerebral cortex from mouse models with CNV of the syntenic 7qF3 region and lymphoblast lines from 34 members of 7 multiplex ASD-affected families harboring the 16p11.2 CNV. Expression of all genes in the CNV region correlated well with their DNA copy number, with no evidence of dosage compensation. We observed effects on gene expression outside the CNV region, including apparent positional effects in cis and in trans at genomic segments with evidence of physical interaction in Hi-C chromosome conformation data. One of the most significant positional effects was telomeric to the 16p11.2 CNV and includes the previously described “distal” 16p11.2 microdeletion. Overall, 16p11.2 CNV was associated with altered expression of genes and networks that converge on multiple hypotheses of ASD pathogenesis, including synaptic function (e.g., NRXN1, NRXN3), chromatin modification (e.g., CHD8, EHMT1, MECP2), transcriptional regulation (e.g., TCF4, SATB2), and intellectual disability (e.g., FMR1, CEP290). However, there were differences between tissues and species, with the strongest effects being consistently within the CNV region itself. Our analyses suggest that through a combination of indirect regulatory effects and direct effects on nuclear architecture, alteration of 16p11.2 genes disrupts expression networks that involve other genes and pathways known to contribute to ASD, suggesting an overlap in mechanisms of pathogenesis.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Reciprocal copy-number variation (CNV) of a 593 kb region of 16p11.2 is a common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet it is not completely penetrant and can manifest in a wide array of phenotypes. To explore its molecular consequences, we performed RNA sequencing of cerebral cortex from mouse models with CNV of the syntenic 7qF3 region and lymphoblast lines from 34 members of 7 multiplex ASD-affected families harboring the 16p11.2 CNV. Expression of all genes in the CNV region correlated well with their DNA copy number, with no evidence of dosage compensation. We observed effects on gene expression outside the CNV region, including apparent positional effects in cis and in trans at genomic segments with evidence of physical interaction in Hi-C chromosome conformation data. One of the most significant positional effects was telomeric to the 16p11.2 CNV and includes the previously described "distal" 16p11.2 microdeletion. Overall, 16p11.2 CNV was associated with altered expression of genes and networks that converge on multiple hypotheses of ASD pathogenesis, including synaptic function (e.g., NRXN1, NRXN3), chromatin modification (e.g., CHD8, EHMT1, MECP2), transcriptional regulation (e.g., TCF4, SATB2), and intellectual disability (e.g., FMR1, CEP290). However, there were differences between tissues and species, with the strongest effects being consistently within the CNV region itself. Our analyses suggest that through a combination of indirect regulatory effects and direct effects on nuclear architecture, alteration of 16p11.2 genes disrupts expression networks that involve other genes and pathways known to contribute to ASD, suggesting an overlap in mechanisms of pathogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
  • C Hanscom · M Talkowski
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    ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing is an important and efficient tool for the identification of structural variation, particularly balanced chromosomal rearrangements, because such events are not routinely detected by microarray and localization of altered regions by karyotype is imprecise. Indeed, the degree of resolution that can be obtained through next-generation technologies enables elucidation of precise breakpoints and has facilitated the discovery of numerous pathogenic loci in human disease and congenital anomalies. The protocol described here explains one type of large-insert "jumping library" and the steps required to generate such a library for multiplexed sequencing using Illumina sequencing technology. This approach allows for cost-efficient multiplexing of samples and provides a very high yield of fragments with large inserts, or "jumping" fragments. Curr. Protoc. Hum. Genet. 80:7.22.1-7.22.9. © 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Current protocols in human genetics / editorial board, Jonathan L. Haines ... [et al.]
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    ABSTRACT: With recent rapid advances in genomic technologies, precise delineation of structural chromosome rearrangements at the nucleotide level is becoming increasingly feasible. In this era of "next-generation cytogenetics" (i.e., an integration of traditional cytogenetic techniques and next-generation sequencing), a consensus nomenclature is essential for accurate communication and data sharing. Currently, nomenclature for describing the sequencing data of these aberrations is lacking. Herein, we present a system called Next-Gen Cytogenetic Nomenclature, which is concordant with the International System for Human Cytogenetic Nomenclature (2013). This system starts with the alignment of rearrangement sequences by BLAT or BLAST (alignment tools) and arrives at a concise and detailed description of chromosomal changes. To facilitate usage and implementation of this nomenclature, we are developing a program designated BLA(S)T Output Sequence Tool of Nomenclature (BOSToN), a demonstrative version of which is accessible online. A standardized characterization of structural chromosomal rearrangements is essential both for research analyses and for application in the clinical setting.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
  • Michael E Talkowski · Eric Vallabh Minikel · James F Gusella
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    ABSTRACT: The last several years have seen unprecedented advances in deciphering the genetic etiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Heritability studies have repeatedly affirmed a contribution of genetic factors to the overall disease risk. Technical breakthroughs have enabled the search for these genetic factors via genome-wide surveys of a spectrum of potential sequence variations, from common single-nucleotide polymorphisms to essentially private chromosomal abnormalities. Studies of copy-number variation have identified significant roles for both recurrent and nonrecurrent large dosage imbalances, although they have rarely revealed the individual genes responsible. More recently, discoveries of rare point mutations and characterization of balanced chromosomal abnormalities have pinpointed individual ASD genes of relatively strong effect, including both loci with strong a priori biological relevance and those that would have otherwise been unsuspected as high-priority biological targets. Evidence has also emerged for association with many common variants, each adding a small individual contribution to ASD risk. These findings collectively provide compelling empirical data that the genetic basis of ASD is highly heterogeneous, with hundreds of genes capable of conferring varying degrees of risk, depending on their nature and the predisposing genetic alteration. Moreover, many genes that have been implicated in ASD also appear to be risk factors for related neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as for a spectrum of psychiatric phenotypes. While some ASD genes have evident functional significance, like synaptic proteins such as the SHANKs, neuroligins, and neurexins, as well as fragile x mental retardation-associated proteins, ASD genes have also been discovered that do not present a clear mechanism of specific neurodevelopmental dysfunction, such as regulators of chromatin modification and global gene expression. In its sum, the progress from genetic studies to date has been remarkable and increasingly rapid, but the interactive impact of strong-effect genetic lesions coupled with weak-effect common polymorphisms has not yet led to a unified understanding of ASD pathogenesis or explained its highly variable clinical expression. With an increasingly firm genetic foundation, the coming years will hopefully see equally rapid advances in elucidating the functional consequences of ASD genes and their interactions with environmental/experiential factors, supporting the development of rational interventions.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Harvard Review of Psychiatry

Publication Stats

2k Citations
690.98 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2016
    • Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2012-2015
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Center for Human Genetic Research
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009-2015
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2014
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2004-2011
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Graduate School of Public Health
      • • Department of Human Genetics
      • • Department of Otolaryngology
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2005-2009
    • Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Toronto
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada