This is one of the articles (found in the New Enland Journal of Medicine, January 2008) that I recently read that indicate we are getting closer to finding a correlation between genetic variants and patients who display autistic characteristics.
Association between Microdeletion and Microduplication at 16p11.2 and Autism.
N Engl J Med. 2008 Jan 9; Weiss LA, Shen Y, Korn JM, Arking DE, Miller DT, Fossdal R, Saemundsen E, Stefansson H, Ferreira MA, Green T, Platt OS, Ruderfer DM, Walsh CA, Altshuler D, Chakravarti A, Tanzi RE, Stefansson K, Santangelo SL, Gusella JF, Sklar P, Wu BL, Daly MJ,
BACKGROUND: Autism spectrum disorder is a heritable developmental disorder in which chromosomal abnormalities are thought to play a role.
METHODS: As a first component of a genomewide association study of families from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), we used two novel algorithms to search for recurrent copy-number variations in genotype data from 751 multiplex families with autism. Specific recurrent de novo events were further evaluated in clinical-testing data from Children's Hospital Boston and in a large population study in Iceland. RESULTS: Among the AGRE families, we observed five instances of a de novo deletion of 593 kb on chromosome 16p11.2. Using comparative genomic hybridization, we observed the identical deletion in 5 of 512 children referred to Children's Hospital Boston for developmental delay, mental retardation, or suspected autism spectrum disorder, as well as in 3 of 299 persons with autism in an Icelandic population; the deletion was also carried by 2 of 18,834 unscreened Icelandic control subjects. The reciprocal duplication of this region occurred in 7 affected persons in AGRE families and
4 of the 512 children from Children's Hospital Boston. The duplication also appeared to be a high-penetrance risk factor. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a novel, recurrent microdeletion and a reciprocal microduplication that carry substantial susceptibility to autism and appear to account for approximately 1% of cases. We did not identify other regions with similar aggregations of large de novo mutations. Copyright 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society.
For more info see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov