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Common genetic variants identify autism risk in high risk siblings of children with ASD
Date:5/17/2012

hildren with autism at increased risk may lead to faster referrals, earlier diagnosis, earlier intervention and better prognosis. We also hope to replicate these findings in families that do not have a child with autism."

These findings build upon earlier identification of eight autism-related SNPs that occur in males and females (Autism risk assessment in siblings of affected children using sex-specific genetic scores) published the February 17, 2011 edition of Molecular Autism.

To determine which SNPs were associated with autism, researchers applied techniques that have been used to analyze other complex diseases. By combining statistical results from genome wide association studies (GWAS) with biological information from multiple sources including databases and scientific literature, the researchers were able to identify and prioritize the SNPs, and develop gender-specific genetic scores to predict the risk of autism.

The study comprised greater than 1,100 families which have more than one child diagnosed with ASD, referred to as multiplex families, including nearly 2,000 affected and 600 unaffected siblings. The male to female ratio for affected children was close to 4.2:1. The discovery cohort included 545 families from the Autism Speaks Autism Genetic Resource Exchange Repository (AGRE). The findings were then replicated in a population comprising 627 families including 339 families from a separate AGRE collection and DNA samples from 288 independent families collected at the University of Washington, Seattle and currently maintained at the University of Pennsylvania.

External collaborators included Gerald Schellenberg, Ph.D. and Beth Dombroski, Ph.D. from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA and Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Chief Scientific Officer, Autism S
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
IntegraGen
Source:Eurekalert

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