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Autism Genome Project Researchers Spearhead New Genetics Discovery

September 13, 2007

Researchers have found that different genes may be responsible for causing autism in boys than in girls. The findings also support the notion that multiple genes contribute to autism spectrum disorder.

The researchers on this project, Gerard Schellenberg of the Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a research professor of medicine at the University of Washington; and Ellen Wijsman, a UW research professor of medical genetics; and Geraldine Dawson, director of the UW's Autism Center, are also members of the Autism Genome Project, an international consortium of geneticists and clinicians that is pooling its samples and expertise in search of autism susceptibility genes. The Autism Genome Project is funded by Autism Speaks.

As representatives of the Collaborative Program of Excellence in Autism, a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded research network, the UW team shared DNA samples and clinical data with colleagues in the Autism Genome Project and contributed substantial expertise in autism phenotype and molecular and statistical genetics.

For more information on their findings, read an UW press release here.