Navigation Links
Study finds pregnancy and birth environment may affect development of autism in twins
Date:7/4/2011

NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 4, 2011) Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, joined in announcing significant findings from the largest known study of twins with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This work, conducted by a consortium of renowned researchers and using material from Autism Speaks Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) was published online today in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The California Autism Twins Study suggests environmental influences, which could include parental age, low birth weight, multiple births, and maternal infections during pregnancy may greatly increase risk for ASD. The study suggested that both genetic and shared environmental factors significantly increase risk for ASD: an estimated 38 percent of risk being associated with genetic heritability and 58 percent with the environment that twins share during pregnancy and perhaps early infancy. The study also found that the relative contributions of shared genes and shared environment are similar for males and females.

"It has been well-established that genetic factors contribute to risk for autism," says Clara Lajonchere, Ph.D., a study co-author and vice president of clinical programs for Autism Speaks. "We now have strong evidence that, on top of genetic heritability, a shared prenatal environment may have a greater than previously realized role in the development of autism."

The study involved 192 pairs of twins, both identical and non-identical, where at least one of the twins in the pair had autism. This approach allowed the researchers to look at how often both children in the twin pair received a diagnosis of autism. Study of identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, helps researchers determine the degree to which a disorder is inherited, or genetic; and comparison to fraternal twins, who share around 50 percent of their DNA, allows researchers to understand how environmental influences add to the risk of ASD.

The finding that shared environment is of significant influence in twins has important implications for future research. Because the prenatal environment and early postnatal environment are shared between twins, it is believed that at least some of the environmental factors affecting susceptibility to autism exert their effect during these critical periods of life. Future studies that investigate such twin-shared experiences and their role in enhancing or suppressing genetic susceptibility are likely to advance the understanding of autism.

The study could not pinpoint the specific time period (i.e. early pregnancy, late pregnancy or birth), nor the specific risk factors (i.e. parental age, maternal nutrition, maternal infections during pregnancy, premature and/or underweight birth, etc.) that contribute to the increased risk notes Dr. Lajonchere. "Indeed, multiple-birth pregnancies are themselves associated with increased risk of developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy and autism. This speaks to the importance of further study on what prenatal and perinatal factors increase risk beyond that of inherited genes," she concludes.

AGRE, which Dr. Lajonchere heads, was instrumental in this study. AGRE clinical staff recruited twins to participate and performed the home-based testing of many of the study participants, using scientifically validated research measures for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders. Other institutes involved in the study include: Stanford University, Environmental Health Investigations Branch, California Department of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, University of California Davis, MIND Institute, and the Institute for Human Genetics and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco


'/>"/>

Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study shows answers for treating obesity-related diseases may reside in fat tissue
2. New study suggests severe deficits in UK honeybee numbers
3. New study documents first cookiecutter shark attack on a live human
4. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study sheds light on tunicate evolution
5. Scripps study finds plastic in 9 percent of garbage patch fishes
6. Global warming could alter the US premium wine industry in 30 years, says Stanford study
7. Study shows climate change makes some chemicals more toxic to aquatic life
8. Premature aging caused by some HIV drugs, study shows
9. BUSM study identifies new potential approaches to treat myelofibrosis
10. MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2011 Society for the Study of Reproduction Annual Meeting
11. Finding is a feather in the cap for researchers studying birds big, powerful eyes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study finds pregnancy and birth environment may affect development of autism in twins
(Date:4/15/2016)...  A new partnership announced today will help ... in a fraction of the time it takes ... life insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient ... Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and ... weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 31, 2016 ... LEGX ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") ... for potential users of its soon to be launched ... video ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide ... the use of DNA technology to an industry that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , ... industrial engineering, was today awarded as one of ... of the world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks ... for the real world in the nutrition, health ... work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica ... in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of the ... brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been manufacturing ... to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: