World’s Largest Study on Autism

World’s Largest Study on AutismWorld’s Largest Study on Autism

Scientists funded by the Simons Foundation Research Initiative on Thursday announced the launch of an online research initiative that aims to gather DNA and other information from 50,000 people with autism and their family members.

Although the cause of the social communication disorder is unknown and believed to be a mix of environmental and genetic factors, scientists have identified about 50 to 70 genes that may play a role in the condition.

The long-term study involves researchers from more than 21 medical institutions, including Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Weill Cornell Medicine, reports

Autism is considered to be a spectrum disorder, which means some people are more severely affected than others.   Joseph Piven, who is co-leading the team at UNC-Chapel Hill, said the initiative would help accelerate an era of personalized medicine for people with the condition.