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U of T researchers make a breakthrough on the study of autism within families

A University of Toronto study has found that not only does the incidence of autism increase within families, but that brothers and sisters with the condition are overwhelmingly likelier to carry different genetic risk factors for the disorder.

The Guardian reports:
Research on 85 families found that siblings with autism had the same genetic risk factors less than one third of the time. In nearly 70% of cases, tests on the siblings revealed little or no overlap in the mutations known to contribute to the condition.

The findings challenge the presumption that the same genetic risk factors are at work when autism runs in families. “We knew that there were many differences in autism, but our recent findings firmly nail that down,” said Stephen Scherer at the University of Toronto.

“This means we should not be looking just for suspected autism-risk genes, as is typically done in diagnostic genetic testing,” Scherer added. Instead, he said a full assessment of a person’s genome was needed if genetic information was ever going to inform their treatment

Read the full story here.
Source: The Guardian.
Photo: CLF via Compfight cc
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