A systematic review of common genetic variation and biological pathways in autism spectrum disorder

Diego Alejandro Rodriguez-Gomez, Danna Paola Garcia-Guaqueta, Jesús David Charry-Sánchez, Elias Sarquis-Buitrago, Mariana Blanco, Alberto Velez-van-Meerbeke, Claudia Talero-Gutiérrez

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15 Scopus citations


Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction. Common genetic variation appears to play a key role in the development of this condition. In this systematic review, we describe the relationship between genetic variations and autism. We created a gene dataset of the genes involved in the pathogenesis of autism and performed an over-representation analysis to evaluate the biological functions and molecular pathways that may explain the associations between these variants and the development of ASD. Results: 177 studies and a gene set composed of 139 were included in this qualitative systematic review. Enriched pathways in the over-representation analysis using the KEGG pathway database were mostly associated with neurotransmitter receptors and their subunits. Major over-represented biological processes were social behavior, vocalization behavior, learning and memory. The enriched cellular component of the proteins encoded by the genes identified in this systematic review were the postsynaptic membrane and the cell junction. Conclusions: Among the biological processes that were examined, genes involved in synaptic integrity, neurotransmitter metabolism, and cell adhesion molecules were significantly involved in the development of autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalBMC Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 9 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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