Researchers funded by Autism Speaks have helped devise a “genetic formula” that promises to improve the accuracy of early screening for autism and speed the identification of biological targets for future treatments.
“This study provides new insights into the unique ways genetic risk factors for autism are expressed in the brain,” says Robert Ring, Autism Speaks chief science officer. “This knowledge helps to lay the foundation for turning genetic discoveries into diagnostic tests that will detect autism earlier, and opens the door to the future personalization of medical or behavioral interventions in autism.”
Recent advances in genome sequencing technology have led to the rapid identification of hundreds of gene changes associated with increased risk of autism. The challenge has been to determine how much risk comes with individual gene variations. Indeed, many individuals carry multiple autism-risk genes without ever developing autism.