Global News

January 16, 2013

New Gene Variants Linked to Autism

In one of the largest-ever studies of genetics and autism, researchers have identified 24 new gene variants associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The work also confirms that 31 variants previously linked to the developmental disorder may serve as useful genetic markers for identifying those with the condition.

Understanding autism’s genetic roots is a priority, researchers say, since it may lead to earlier diagnosis and behavioral intervention, which can improve patient outcomes.

“Oftentimes findings like this get published in academic journals, but they don’t get translated into clinical use,” says Chuck Hensel, an author on the new research study, published in PLoS ONE, who is the senior manager of research at the genetic diagnostics company Lineagen. “Our goal,” Hensel says, “is to try to get these markers into the clinic.”

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