Twin Study Suggests Genes Triumph Over Environment in Autism Cases

twin studies autism

Many studies have tried to determine the exact causes that lead to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Most scientists agree that both genetics and environmental factors contribute. However a recent study conducted in the UK suggested genetics are more at play than any other factor.

Researchers at King’s College London collected a population sample of teenage twins to further examine. To help minimize variability, they made sure the twins had very similar environments. For example, each pair was raised in the same household and with the same parents.

Several tests were conducted such as the Childhood Autism Spectrum Test (CAST), the Development and Well-being Assessment (DAWBA), the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), and a best-estimate diagnosis. It was found that in identical twins that share the same genetic material, both were more likely to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. In comparison, fraternal twins had a significantly lower likelihood. We can see through this study that genetics carry a great influence.  

So how can we explain why so many children are being diagnosed more than ever before? Researchers chalk it up to an increase of awareness. Autism can be difficult to properly diagnose because it includes a spectrum of conditions and the severity can vary widely between individuals. As science and research progresses, we are able to identify Autism traits more accurately. Many cases of ASD would have been considered learning disabilities in the past.

Future research will continue to locate the exact genetic markers that are indicators for the disorder and their relation to Autism behavior. The next step is to determine if those genes can be inherited from one generation to the next. While there is much to be done, the study has laid out a solid foundational support concerning the role of genetics. At the same time, scientists have not completely ignored environmental factors. They still relevant and considered to be underlying factors, just not to the extent as what was once thought. 

By Raiza Belarmino

You may read the original article here

This entry was posted in Autism Causes, Autism Diagnosis, Autism News, Autism News, Autism Research, Autism Symptoms and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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