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New Down Syndrome protein found

By Tim Sandle     Apr 1, 2013 in Science
Researchers have identified a protein involved in the chromosomal disorder 'Down Syndrome', that could explain its characteristic learning deficits.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21 (it is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans). It is typically associated with a delay in cognitive ability (mental retardation, or MR) and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
According to Nature Medicine, scientists based at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have found a protein (called SNX27) that restores some of the cognitive and behavioral disorders found in the disease.
This finding has come from studies on mice, according to BBC Science. The researchers found that mice, who were deficient in the SNX27 protein, exhibited similar characteristics to mice with Down syndrome. When the team supplemented SNX27 in the brains of mice with Down syndrome, they could see improvements in memory deficits.
This discovery will lead to further research and the possibility of, one day, human trials.
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