Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adding up autism risks

15.10.2012
The causes of autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are complex, and contain elements of both nature (genes) and the environment. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Autism shows that common genetic polymorphisms (genetic variation) can add up to an increased risk of ASD.

The contribution of inheritance and genetic mutation versus environmental factors to the risk of ASD is hotly debated. Most twin studies show the contribution heavily tilted toward inheritance, but the exact amount of involvement of genes in ASD risk is less apparent.

This is because, while the impact of rare genetic variations on ASD risk is becoming clear, the role of more common variations, so called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), remains unresolved.

In a vast project involving researchers across the USA, genetic data from families in the Simons Simplex Collection (where one child, but neither parent or any brothers or sisters, have ASD) and the Autism Genome Project (where one or more children were affected), was compared to families from the HealthABC program a cross section of the population).

By analyzing one million of the common variations in each participant's genome, it became clear that, in families where only one child is affected, 40% of the risk of ASD is inherited. In families where more than one child is affected this increased to over 60%. By looking in more detail at the unaffected parents and siblings of children with ASD it appeared that the inherited risk was additive.

Prof Bernie Devlin, from the University of Pittsburgh, explained, "Each of the common variations involved in ASD has little effect on its own, however our results show that they add up. This could explain why, while the parents might each not show any symptoms, their children receive enough of the risk versions to be affected."

Overall these results suggest that there are a large number of common variants each with a very small effect. Prof Devlin continued, "This is a large step forward in our understanding of ASD. The genetic components alone are far more complex than many imagined a decade ago, including the additive effects we have found, rare inherited mutations, and new mutations arising spontaneously before conception."

Editors-in-Chief, Drs. Buxbaum and Baron-Cohen noted that this study represents "An exceptionally important breakthrough in our understanding of autism risk". They also note that, "The interplay between common SNP and rare risk variants could be key to understanding the considerable differences in presentation seen among individuals with an autism spectrum condition".

Media contact
Dr Hilary Glover
Scientific Press Officer, BioMed Central
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3192 2370
Mob: +44 (0) 778 698 1967
Email: hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
Notes
1. Common genetic variants, acting additively, are a major source of risk for autism Lambertus Klei, Stephan J Sanders, Michael T Murtha, Vanessa Hus, Jennifer K Lowe, A. Jeremy Willsey, Daniel Moreno-De-Luca, Timothy W Yu, Eric Fombonne, Daniel Geschwind, Dorothy E Grice, David H Ledbetter, Catherine Lord, Shrikant M Mane, Christa Lese Martin, Donna M Martin, Eric M Morrow, Christopher A Walsh, Nadine M Melhem, Pauline Chaste, James S Sutcliffe, Matthew W State, Edwin H Cook Jr, Kathryn Roeder and Bernie Devlin Molecular Autism (in press)

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request on the day of publication.

2. Molecular Autism is a peer-reviewed, online open access journal that publishes high-quality basic, translational and clinical research that has relevance to the etiology, pathobiology, or treatment of autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions. @MolecularAutism

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. @BioMedCentral

Dr Hilary Glover | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>