How genetics studies underestimate the impact of environmental pollutants

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by David L. Lewis, PhD

Published on May 29, 2016

Persistent DNA damage causes new mutations to occur during prenatal development that can lead to the types of neurological problems associated with autism. Error-prone DNA repair processes can create new mutations that never existed in either parent. These changes, which are called somatic mosaic mutations, are only present in a subset of cells and can be passed down by either parent. Traditional genetics studies fail to detect these types of mutations, which are not as rare as once thought.