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Multiple Genetic 'Flavors' May Explain Autism

Chromosome 17 Discovery
April 23, 2007

Two recent studies published in both the American Journal of Medical Genetics and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate an association between mutations in a specific region of chromosome 17 and rigid-compulsive behaviors in individuals affected with autism. One gene of interest located on this area of chromosome 17 codes for the serotonin transporter, a target of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are used to treat some symptoms of autism, and may explain why some autistic individuals are responsive to SSRI therapy. These studies were partially funded with a NAAR research award to Dr. James Sutcliffe, and a pre-doctoral fellowship to Jacob McCauley. Due to NAAR funding, both Dr. Sutcliffe and Mr. McCauley have both contributed significantly to knowledge surrounding the role of chromosome 17 in autism. In addition, Dr. Sutcliffe is a contributing scientist to the Autism Genome Project, funded by NAAR.

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Read the full article as it appears in the American Journal of Human Genetics