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Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
Date:9/5/2007

The Simons Foundation, through its Autism Research Initiative, has signed a $7.8 million, two-year contract with the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) to establish a collection of DNA samples for autism studies. The samples will be collected from 2,000 families that have a single autistic child.

The Simons Simplex Collection, as this project is known, will constitute the core resource for a new and different line of research into the genetics of autism, said RUCDR Scientific Director Jay Tischfield, who is also the Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Professor of Genetics at Rutgers. We will be looking not only at autism that is passed from generation to generation, but also at autism that derives from sporadic genetic changes that may occur within one generation. It is now recognized that such sporadic mutations may account for a large fraction of autism cases.

Blood samples from the 8,000 participating family members will be collected at 11 centers around the United States and shipped to Rutgers for processing into DNA and cell lines that will then be preserved and stored in vaults of liquid nitrogen. Autism researchers will be able to access these genetic specimens through the auspices of the Simons Foundation.

We are proud to have been chosen by the Simons Foundation to construct and maintain this unique and unprecedented resource, a tool that can help unlock some of the mysteries of autism, said Richard L. McCormick, president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The opportunity to contribute to this initiative is due in great measure to the leadership position that Rutgers scientists have achieved in the field of medical genetics.

Autism is a disorder that manifests early in life and has no known cure. It is tied to a childs early brain development and is usually diagnosed in the first three years of life.

Autistic children typically have difficulties with behavior, social interaction an
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Contact: Joseph Blumberg
blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Source:Eurekalert

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