For a while, the medical fraternity have been trying to answer a singular question: Is Autism Genetic? According to the latest research, scientists now believe that Autism is linked to a very strong genetic predisposition and is almost certainly hereditary in a majority of cases.
In a study that involved as many as 258 twins from a diversified ethnic and demographic background, the genetic influence on ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) was estimated to be anywhere between 74% to 98%.
Some of the hereditary risk factors for Autism were also found to have a strong overlap with genes influencing less extreme or borderline autism symptoms that are available in the general population.
Beata Tick, Lead Researcher, explains “The key finding out of our research was that the heritability of Autism Spectrum Disorder is much higher than we originally thought. By analyzing the results, we were also able to conclude that genetic factors may lead to a wide range of autistic symptoms and behavioral traits across the general population.
The data source for this research was compiled from the TEDS (Twins Early Development Study) diversified population-based database. The research was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).
“A well-established approach, to clarify the extent of social, environmental and genetic influences in Autism, is to compare the commonalities between non-identical and identical twins”, says Professor Patrick Bolton, co-author and fellow member of King’s college.
Researchers believe that the ingenuity of this study lies in the fact that it included twins regardless of whether they had gone through a clinical diagnosis for Autism. This provided the theorists a holistic picture of the kind of influences that society, genetic makeup, and the environment has on the development of a child and how more subtle differences may manifest into pronounced autistic trends.
Their findings add more weight to the view that extreme manifestation of autistic traits and behaviors, observed in the general population, eventually leads to ASD.