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GENES ‘KEY ROLE’ IN AUTISM

“Genes have key role in autism,” reports the BBC, as scientists believe that they have found tiny genetic changes that have an impact on the likelihood of developing autism.

“The puzzle is slowly being pieced together, and the science of autism is accelerating in promising ways”


The changes that have been identified appear to influence genes which help form and maintain connections between brain cells and together seem to be involved in up to 15% of autism cases. The lead researcher of the US National Institutes of Health funded project, Dr Hakon Hakonarson, believes that there are many genes involved in causing autism, along with other factors: “In most cases it’s likely that each gene contributes a small amount of risk, and interacts with other genes and environmental factors to trigger the onset.” These findings will offer further understanding of the development of autism and other related conditions such as Apserger’s Syndrome which affect at least 1 in 100 UK children, as reported by Fiona Macrae in the Daily Mail.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, an autism expert at Cambridge University said: “The puzzle is slowly being pieced together, and the science of autism is accelerating in promising ways.”

Useful links: The National Autistic Society – www.nas.org.uk/