Anxiety runs in families with a history of autism, hinting that the two conditions may share a common origin, suggests a twin study published in November.
Methylation — modifications to DNA that regulate gene expression — may explain why identical twins with the same Rett syndrome mutation have different symptoms, according to a study published 21 June in PLoS One.
Watch the complete replay of Francesca Happé discussing how autism’s constellation of symptoms may have independent biological causes. Submit your own follow-up questions.
Epigenetics, or the chemical markings on DNA that affect gene expression, plays a role in some cases of autism, according to a study of 50 identical twins published 23 April in Molecular Psychiatry.
A comparison of autism-like behaviors in nearly 10,000 pairs of fraternal twins suggests that girls are somehow protected from the disorder. The findings, published 19 February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may partly explain why autism is four times more common in boys than girls.
Children with attention difficulties may later show signs of autism, such as trouble holding a conversation, according to a study published 14 November in Psychological Medicine.