World's largest genetic study shines new light on autism
This was the largest whole genome study of autism to date - and the results are far-reaching.
The research examined over five thousand genetic elements from families affected by autism and found 18 more gene variations that can cause autism.
Now scientists are closer to identifying the many subtypes of autism. This will lead to better and more focused treatments and help explain all the different faces of the disorder.
Published this week in the Journal, Nano Neuroscience, the study is being hailed as medically very significant.
Dr Matthew Pletcher spoke to the Huffington Post.
"It helps underscore ... the incredible variety, the heterogeneity, in what autism is. This diagnostic category of autism is one that covers so many unique genetic backgrounds and unique biologies, and yet it’s all being considered as one thing. But in reality, with each new study we do and each new gene we find, we’re seeing that in fact autism is collecting together this huge group of really complex genetic traits.”
Some of the genes that were identified were also related to medical conditions that occur with autism, including seizures and diabetes.
Scientists hope that this discovery could prove invaluable for early diagnosis and preventive care.