Researchers Find More Autism Genetic Links

TORONTO, June 9 (UPI) — Autism may be caused by rare changes in a person’s genome that are not inherited and are unique to each case, a study suggests.

Published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, the study says each autistic person may have a unique pattern of genetic changes occurring along common biological pathways, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Research found people with autism tended to have either missing or extra copies of segments of DNA known as copy number variants, which can disrupt how genes work.

The variants identified in the study “may broaden the targets amenable to genetic testing and therapeutic intervention,” its authors said.

“By identifying the genetic causes of autism,” Tony Monaco of Oxford University’s Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics said, “we hope in the future to be able to improve the diagnosis and treatment of this condition which can affect children and their families so severely.”

Stephen Scherer of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto said the results could “lead to a paradigm shift when it comes to understanding the root causes of autism,” CBC reported.

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