What Causes Autism? A Look at the Genetics Behind It

Autism is a condition that affects many people around the world, and it has been the subject of much research. A recent study has found that 80% of the risk of autism is due to inherited genes, rather than environmental factors or random mutations. This means that genes that are altered during pregnancy can increase a child's susceptibility to autism. The study looked at autism in five countries, and the birth years were restricted to 1980-1995. The rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in this population was analyzed, and it was concluded that genetic factors are primarily responsible for autism.

Methylomic analysis of discordant monozygotic twins for ASD and related behavioral traits was also conducted. ASD is a condition that appears very early in child development, and it is characterized by impaired social skills, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors. Targeted sequencing has identified 91 genes that are at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders with autism biases and developmental disability. In an epidemiological study on autism, 96 unaffected siblings had fewer prenatal and perinatal complications than their affected siblings, but more than control subjects.

This suggests that autism is primarily due to genetic factors. In addition, autism-like behaviors with transient histone hyperacetylation in mice treated prenatally with valproic acid have been observed. The available evidence for the contribution of GXe (genetic-by-environment interaction) to the risk of autism comes from animal models. This further reinforces the idea that many forms of genetic variations can contribute to the autism spectrum.

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