Working off the theory that roughly half of autism cases are caused by a chance combination of genetic mutations, their new
study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found more evidence for the genetics argument.
For their study, the researchers looked at how "de novo likely gene-disruptive mutations (LGDs)" ãƒ»mutations that develop at the beginning of a childç—´ life ãƒ»occurred in genes deemed "vulnerable" and how they played a role in ASD development. They also looked at whether these gene-disruptions transferred between generations.
Iossifov explained that when these genetic mutations occur in a child, and give way to ASD, they often do not get passed on to another generation. According to Iossifovç—´ research, many diagnosed with severe autism will not reproduce, and therefore their genetic material is less likely to evolve and mutate.
With this information in mind, researchers were better able to understand which genes with LGDs could be categorized as "autism genes." Starting with 500 likely genes, researchers were able to narrow down the list to 200 of the most likely genes related to autism.
In addition to discovering which genes were likely involved, the researchers also looked into how parents could potentially carry these LGDs and pass them on to their children without their health being affected. For the study, researchers looked at families through the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) database. They found that in families with autistic children, parents could be carriers of the LGD mutations, and that these mutations were seen more frequently in their children with ASD rather than their children without the disorder. Along with this, they also found that mothers were most likely to carry the genetic mutations.This finding gives further credence to the theory that LGDs play a role in autism.
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