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Home Industry News Autism risk ‘linked to up to a thousand genetic variants’

Autism risk ‘linked to up to a thousand genetic variants’

30th October 2014

A broad-ranging review of genes with potential links to autism spectrum disorder has revealed hundreds of variations that could contribute to the development of the condition.

Led by Mount Sinai researchers and the Autism Sequencing Consortium, the project involved the examination of data on several rare genetic differences in more than 14,000 DNA samples from parents, affected children and unrelated individuals.

This was by far the largest number of samples examined for this purpose to date and revealed small differences in as many as a thousand genes that could contribute to autism risk, while increasing the number of definitive autism genes almost fourfold to 33.

More than 70 additional likely autism-causing genes were also identified, with each of these shown to be mutated in more than five percent of individuals with autism.

Dr Joseph Buxbaum, professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said: "A study like this creates an industry for years to come, with labs worldwide checking the brain changes linked to each new genetic finding, and searching for drugs to counter them."

In the UK, it is estimated that about one in every 100 people has a form of autism, which can affect a person's ability to process social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801757520-ADNFCR

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