Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

Mother and daughter look to their right. Photos are in the background, along with a wall clock.
Photograph by
Kim Raff

In this series of articles, we explore how clinical genetics is giving families long-sought answers and transforming autism care. The first story, “Why genetic testing matters for autistic people,” explains some of the factors that limit the availability of genetic tests in the United States. The second story, “Europe’s race to ramp up genetic tests for autism,” tracks European efforts to reckon with growing demand for genetic tests from parents. As a number of countries scale up the tests they offer, their experiences might offer practical lessons to others. The troves of data they collect could also help scientists link more genetic variants to autism. The third installment in the series, “How families are driving the study of autism genes,” reports on the power of family groups — growing numbers of which are coalescing around rare genetic mutations — to drive research.

Featured Articles

Portrait of boy with autism

Why genetic tests matter for autistic people

by  /  30 January 2019

Genetic tests for people with autism are far from routine and don’t always yield results, but the information they offer can change lives.

Gabin and his father at home in Paris.

Europe’s race to ramp up genetic tests for autism

by  /  13 February 2019

Many countries in Europe are reckoning with the growing demand for genetic tests for autistic people — and the accompanying ethical and scientific considerations.

children playing at a genetic family group meeting

How families are driving the study of autism genes

by  /  10 April 2019

Parents of children with rare autism-linked mutations are banding together for support and to join forces with scientists, accelerating the pace of research.

Illustration of a human fetus in a screening test

Prenatal sequencing for some autism genes may soon be available

by  /  10 April 2019

Two new studies point to the possibility of detecting autism mutations before birth — along with all the ethical and logistical problems that may bring.

Hands on background of microarray and other genetic information

Genetic testing for autism, explained

by  /  10 April 2019

No genetic test can say whether a person has autism, but it may point to a cause for the condition or for any related complications.

human making connections

Sharing genetic results can advance autism science, medical care

by ,  /  9 April 2019

People with autism and their families can be important partners in understanding the genetics of autism by agreeing to share their genetic data.

Spectrum stories podcast logo.

Spectrum Stories: The benefits of genetic testing in autism

by  /  18 March 2019

Finding a mutation linked to autism traits can have life-changing consequences for autistic individuals and their families.

A woman peers through a wall made to look like a genetic sequencing background, through a missing area.

Counseling can ease shock of unexpected genetic results

by  /  23 October 2018

The best way to deliver surprises from genetic findings is to provide adequate information and counseling alongside the results.

From The Archives

'crystal ball' of genetic prediction
Woman's face with the eyes covered by hand shapes, with a DNA helix in the background, and a judge's gavel.