Today, Autism Speaks announced the findings from the second phase of their Autism Genome Project.
They've found that people with autism tend to carry more submicroscopic insertions and deletions (called "copy number variants") in their genomes than people without autism. Some of these variants appear to be inherited, while others are considered new because they are found only in affected offspring -- and not in their parents.
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"Piece by piece, we are discovering genetic mutations that can cause autism," said Andy Shih, Ph.D., Autism Speaks' vice president for scientific affairs. "These findings will provide answers for families about what contributed to their autism. These genetic findings help us understand the underlying biology of autism, which can lead to the development of novel treatments."