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International study finds new autism genetic links

By brooketerra     Feb 19, 2007 in Technology
In the most extensive findings to date on the genetics of autism, scientists have pinpointed two new genetic links that may predispose children to develop the complex brain disorder.
In a study over 5 years that targeted 1,168 families families with more than two children with autism researchers scoured DNA samples and used "gene chip" technology to detect genetic similarities. They also looked for tiny additions or gaps of genetic material that could play a role in autism.
Geneticist Stephen Scherer of the University of Toronto, Canada, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto said 90 percent of autism may have a genetic basis.
"What we have now that we didn't really have before is a pretty decent understanding of what the genetic architecture is looking like in the autism genome," said Scherer, who worked on the study published in the journal Nature Genetics.
Autism appears in early childhood, often as young as age 2 or 3, and affects four times as many boys as girls.
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