According to wikpiedia, Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old. It is very heritable, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is generally unclear which genes are responsible.
A study showed that previously unknown chromosomal abnormalities have a substantial role in the prevalent developmental disorder.
“Historical studies in identical twins and their families have provided strong evidence for a genetic basis of autism,” said Stephen Scherer of The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. “Last year, with the Autism Genome Project Consortium, we did an initial study to look at the rate of chromosomal changes in autism. Now, we’ve really pinned down those numbers.”
This disorder is very complex and it affects 1 in 165 children, making it among the most common disorders of childhood. Those who suffer from it have deficits in social interaction and communication and show a preference for repetitive, stereotyped activities. “Our understanding of the full etiologic role of structural variation in ASD will require genomic and phenotypic analyses of more cases (and their families) and population controls,” the researchers concluded.
Anyway this could be a very importing step in helping those who suffer from this disorder.
“From our current data it is already apparent that for a proportion of individuals, it will be possible to describe their ASD based on the underlying structural characteristics of their genome,” they wrote.