Do genetic differences or diagnostic biases account for the gender imbalance in autism? Catherine Lord, David Skuse and Angelica Ronald weigh in.
Traits that typically accompany autism, such as social impairments and communication difficulties, remain largely consistent as children age, and this stability is primarily due to genetic factors, a new study concludes. The research, published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, is based on more than 6,000 twin pairs in the general population.
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.