- A genome-wide scan for common alleles affecting risk for autism (2010)
- Although autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have a substantial genetic basis, most of the known genetic risk has been traced to rare variants, principally copy number variants (CNVs). To identify common risk variation, the Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium genotyped 1558 rigorously defined ASD families for 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyzed these SNP genotypes for association with ASD. In one of four primary association analyses, the association signal for marker rs4141463, located within MACROD2, crossed the genome-wide association significance threshold of P < 5 3 10 exp -8. When a smaller replication sample was analyzed, the risk allele at rs4141463 was again over-transmitted; yet, consistent with the winner’s curse, its effect size in the replication sample was much smaller; and, for the combined samples, the association signal barely fell below the P < 5 3 10 exp -8 threshold. Exploratory analyses of phenotypic subtypes yielded no significant associations after correction for multiple testing. They did, however, yield strong signals within several genes, KIAA0564, PLD5, POU6F2, ST8SIA2 and TAF1C.
- Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders (2012)
- While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
- Autistic traits and autism spectrum disorders: the clinical validity of two measures presuming a continuum of social communication skills (2010)
- Research indicates that autism is the extreme end of a continuously distributed trait. The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Social and Communication Disorders Checklist (SCDC) aim to assess autistic traits. The objective of this study was to compare their clinical validity. The SRS showed sensitivities of .74 to .80 and specificities of .69 to 1.00 for autism. Sensitivities were .85 to .90 and specificities .28 to.82 for the SCDC. Correlations with the ADI-R, ADOS and SCQ were higher for the SRS than for the SCDC. The SCDC seems superior to the SRS to screen for unspecific social and communicative deficits including autism. The SRS appears more suitable than the SCDC in clinical settings and for specific autism screening.
- A close eye on the eagle-eyed visual acuity hypothesis of autism (2011)
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been associated with sensory hypersensitivity. A recent study reported visual acuity (VA) in ASD in the region reported for birds of prey. The validity of the results was subsequently doubted. This study examined VA in 34 individuals with ASD, 16 with schizophrenia (SCH), and 26 typically developing (TYP). Participants with ASD did not show higher VA than those with SCH and TYP. There were no substantial correlations of VA with clinical severity in ASD or SCH. This study could not confirm the eagle-eyed acuity hypothesis of ASD, or find evidence for a connection of VA and clinical phenotypes. Research needs to further address the origins and circumstances associated with altered sensory or perceptual processing in ASD.