The Autism Consortium, a scientific and clinical collaboration involving 11 Boston-area autism research institutions, has announced the initiation of a comprehensive genetic association study to examine the entire human genome related to autism: the Autism Gene Discovery Project.
To identify the genes that underlie susceptibility to autism, the Project pairs the most comprehensive genetic analysis technology available to date with 3,700 patient samples provided by the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), a program created and funded by Cure Autism Now. AGRE makes it possible for the Project to begin immediately, since the program has already identified and screened families and collected the DNA that will be used in the study.
For the first time, The Autism Gene Discovery Project brings together the newest genetic technology, the Affymetrix 500K Array, with the largest private source of genetic and clinical information for autism research, AGRE, along with several of the world's leading experts in gene discovery who will be conducting the research. The Project is led by Dr. Rudy Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital, who also serves on the Cure Autism Now Scientific Advisory Board and the AGRE Steering Committee, Dr. Chris Walsh of Children's Hospital Boston and Drs. Mark Daly and James Gusella of MGH Center for Human Genetic Research and the Broad Institute. Knowledge of the genes involved in autism will help us unravel the biochemical pathways that have been disrupted. This information can immediately be used to design treatments that target the core biological underpinnings of autism.