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Pilot Project to Assess Web-Based Family Recruitment for Autism Genetics Studies

Los Angeles
State/Province Full: 
United States

Experts agree that the need to assess large sample collections that number in the tens of thousands is fundamental to modern human genetic studies and recent studies in diabetes and breast cancer have illustrated this. Significant advances in genetic analyses of autism will require this level of ascertainment while being both rapid and affordable. Currently DNA is available on only a few thousand individuals with autism worldwide. This proposal aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a mechanism for large-scale subject recruitment with DNA collection. The investigators propose to recruit within the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) and validate the accuracy and utility of the resulting collected samples. As the centerpiece of this pilot project, the investigators will collect DNA from 3,000 affected children in just a one-year time period, using mailer-based saliva collection kits. What this means for people with autism: The proposed studies have the potential to revolutionize the way in which subjects with autism are recruited for research studies. By correlating fast internet-based assessments with traditional diagnostic procedures, the investigators have proposed to double the number of autism subjects with genetic samples that are currently available. This will allow the genetic risk factors for autism to be uncovered in a much more meaningful timeframe, permitting clinical investigators to focus on development of diagnostics and targeted biological therapeutics.