What causes autism? It’s mostly genetic, study says

| | October 2, 2017

For a condition as complex as autism, it’s almost certain that both genes and environment play an important role. But teasing apart how much DNA contributes to the developmental condition and how much is due to environmental exposures remains a subject of much debate.

In a study published in JAMA, researchers say they have come up with the most accurate figure to date for the role that genes play in autism. Led by Sven Sandin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the scientists re-analyzed existing data from all children born in Sweden between 1982 and 2006. The team had looked at the same data previously, focusing on pairs of siblings, both of whom were diagnosed with autism. But this time, they applied a different method for tracking the diagnosis.

[W]hen Sandin tracked autism diagnoses over time among the sibling pairs, he found that genetics likely accounts for around 83% of the disorder. That compares to nearly 90% reported in previous studies of twins only. Using the new model, environmental factors probably contribute around 17% to the risk of developing autism. “This is why it is important to have different study designs,” says Sandin.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: This Is How Much of Autism Is Genetic

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

2 thoughts on “What causes autism? It’s mostly genetic, study says

  1. It is not 83% genetic. The JAMA study refers to heritability, which is a measure of the variance (variability) of a trait — not to the contribution of genes to the trait.

  2. Hello Alice,

    I’m with Healthline, the second largest consumer health information site on the web with an audience of over 60 million. We recognize that Genetic Literacy Project is doing essential work to raise awareness about autism, and we’re interested in working together.

    We’ve recently published several autism-related articles that we felt might be of interest to Genetic Literacy Project readers. You can see them at the links below.




    Would you consider sharing any of these articles with your readers?

    In addition, we have quite a bit of autism-related content coming up that could be a good opportunity to showcase Genetic Literacy Project and the important work that you do.

    If interested, please let me know and I can provide more information.



    Maegan Jones | Content Coordinator
    Your most trusted ally in pursuit of health and well-being

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