The Future of Autism Genetics Should Learn From Its Past

Last month in November of 2014, my colleagues and I published two large studies that sequenced the genes or exomes of thousands of families with a history of autism1,2. These studies identified several dozen “high-confidence” autism genes that show spontaneous, harmful mutations in multiple...

Adults with Autism May a Have High Burden of Health Problems

Adults with autism may suffer from various health problems, ranging from psychiatric conditions to motor symptoms that resemble Parkinson’s disease, according to two studies presented Thursday at the 2014 International Meeting for Autism Research in Atlanta. Some of the conditions may stem...

Studies Map Gene Expression Across Brain Development

Now that genetic studies have implicated several hundred genes in autism, researchers are turning their attention to where and when in the healthy young brain these genes are expressed. The first two studies to tackle these questions appeared on November 21, 2013 in Cell. One report, led by...

Study Finds That Autism Genes are Surprisingly Large

Enzymes called topoisomerases are crucial for the expression of extremely long genes in neurons, according to a study published 5 September in Nature1. More than one-quarter of these genes are known autism candidates, the study found. In the process of doing these analyses, the researchers...

Twin Study Suggests Girls are Protected From Autism Risk

A comparison of autism-like behaviors in nearly 10,000 pairs of fraternal twins suggests that girls are somehow protected from the disorder1. The findings, published 19 February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may partly explain why autism is four times more common in boys...