Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how a person interacts, communicates, learns, and behaves with others. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is described as a “developmental disorder” because symptoms usually appear in the first two years of life.
American researchers studied the DNA of 150,000 people and found that 20,000 of them suffer from autism. They identified the biological changes in the brain that lead to autism. They discovered 70 genes linked to the disorder, leading to new tests and treatments.
Autism and related conditions affect more than one in 100 British children and one in 44 young Americans, a tenfold increase from 30 years ago.
The study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, hopes to help future research teams. “We know that many genes contribute to autism when there is a mutation,” says Joseph Boxbaum, one of the study’s authors and director of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment. In this unprecedented study, we were able to combine a wide range of mutations across a wide range of samples to gain a richer sense of the genes and genetic structure associated with autism.