Recent Publication in J.A.M.A. on the Familial Risk of Autism

Genetics and Autism: a great study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Thank you Emily, from Science Over a Cuppa!

Science Over a Cuppa

Just this month an article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which assessed the familial risk of autism. This was a gigantic population based study on Swedish children born between 1982 and 2006, which looked at trends in autism spectrum diagnosis amongst monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) twins, full siblings, half siblings, and cousins. Groups were broken down into multiplex (autism occurs more than once) and simplex (only a single child with the diagnosis), so as to look at differences in heritability.

They found that simplex cases of autism, whether twins, full siblings, half siblings, or cousins, ranged from 27-94 cases per 100,000 people per year, which is a fairly small spread, indicating little in the way of heritability (unsurprisingly). On the other hand, monozygotic twins concordant for autism occurred in approximately 6,274 cases per 100,000 people per year, calculated as 59.2% heritability. Meanwhile, dizygotic…

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