Researchers find genes related to autism

I am quite open that I support genetic-based theories of autism etiology, while also open to the notion of triggers. Genetic predisposition is only that: predisposition. Many genetic conditions respond to triggers, so the two are not exclusionary. Today, there is a bit more on the genetics of autism.

But even the most common genetic changes in his study were found in only 1% or less of patients, Scherer says.

That suggests that "most individuals with autism are probably genetically quite unique, each having their own genetic form of autism," says Scherer, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, one of 120 scientists from 11 countries working on the study, called the Autism Genome Project.

As co-author Stanley Nelson of the University of California-Los Angeles describes it, "If you had 100 kids with autism, you could have 100 different genetic causes."

I have written before about the likelihood of the following:

[D]octors may be able to use these findings to offer parents an early genetic test to help predict children's risk of development autism, says coauthor Louise Gallagher of Trinity College Dubin.

I am still struggling with issues of genetic screening. I dislike making such screening mandatory, but I also can envision insurers and those financially affected (including the government) demanding screening during pregnancies. Minnesota already screens all children born in the state, unless a parent opts out -- and most don't realize they can. It's not exactly the main concern of new parents.

We are years from genetic tests, but few people predicted how far genetic mapping would come in the last two decades.


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