One of the biggest challenges in neuroscience is illuminating the architecture of developmental brain disorders, which include structural malformations of the brain and nerves, intellectual disability, epilepsy, and some psychiatric conditions like autism and potentially schizophrenia. Ongoing gene identification reveals a great diversity of genetic causes underlying abnormal brain development, illuminating new biochemical pathways often not suspected based on genetic studies in other organisms. Our greater understanding of genetic disease also shows the complexity of allelic diversity, in which distinct mutations in a given gene can cause a wide range of distinct diseases or other phenotypes. These diverse alleles not only provide a platform for discovery of critical protein-protein interactions in a genetic fashion, but also illuminate the likely genetic architecture of as yet poorly characterized neurological disorders.
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