Saturday, April 7, 2012

Autism Article

Many Tiny Mutations May Contribute to Autism 

This article discussed how a father's age, may affect his child having autism. It was discussed that hundreds of tiny genetic changes called copy number variants (CNV) may increase the risk of autism. These genetic changes are rare, but they may be involved in the development of 30 percent of autism cases. This new research supports an earlier theory that having a older father is a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder. It is a scary though that all people have some CNVs in their genes, which are harmless, but those with mutated CNVs have devolved their brain differently, because it alters the gene pathway, which is critical in development.

I found it interesting that it said these gene mutations were more prevalent in children with older fathers, but also that a study showed that the fathers of girls with autism were 17 times more likely to be in their 40s than their 20s and fathers of boys were four times times more likely to be in their 40s. I wonder what the link between this gene mutation is between girls with autism and boys with autism and their fathers is. Does it actually affect girls and boys with autism differently? Was it just coincidence that these girls with autism had fathers who were older? There is still much to be discovered about autism but as stated in the article, “they show that we now have the tools to discover more genetic risk factors, as well as explore the possible environmental factors that interact with them.”

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