Difficulties of Finding Genes for Autism

Professor Daniel Geschwind relates difficulties in studying a complex disorder like autism, where no two autistic individuals present with precisely the same symptoms.

One of the difficulties with studying a very complex disorder, such as autism, is that it is a very heterogeneous disorder. That is, every child who has it looks a little bit different from each other – it is very complex. Now we don’t know that, for example, two children with autism are going to have the same genetic basis, but there are all these components of the disorder, called endophenotypes, that is, things that we can measure, such as language and social behavior, even things that we can measure in brain structure, for example, that may be closer to an underlying biological cause, that is, or a genetic cause, that we can measure in those children, we can measure in the unaffected relatives. Generally these endophenotypes, if they are going to be genetically useful, are seen in a kind of intermediate form in the unaffected children. So that if you take a, let’s say, an autistic child who is not speaking, his siblings may have some form of mild language delay, but still be non-autistic, but we can use that information and measure that to have more power to identify genes.

autism, autistic, gene, genetic, cause, phenotype, endophenotype, endo-phenotype, heterogeneous, heterogeneity, complexity, daniel, geschwind

Related Content

1177. Autism Endophenotypes

Professor Daniel Geschwind explains that studying endophenotypes is a useful way to understand the complexities of autism.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

1203. Finding a Gene for Autism

Professor Daniel Geschwind discusses the importance of his group's discovery of an autism locus on chromosome 17.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

880. Relatives' Brains and Autism

Brain scans of close relatives of children with autism reveal clear abnormalities that parallel those seen in autism.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

2317. Schizophrenia - Do Genes Correspond to Symptoms?

Doctor Anil Malhotra discusses emerging research relating specific genes to positive (DISC1) and negative (e.g. dysbindin) symptoms of schizophrenia.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

1176. Where is the Autism Locus?

Professor Daniel Geschwind discusses the location of the autism locus.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

920. MET Gene

The MET gene is important to brain development, particularly in the neocortex and cerebellum.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

2301. Endophenotype Approach to Schizophrenia Research

Doctor Anil Malhotra discusses endophenotype strategies for studying schizophrenia, which can examine neurocognitive function or brain-imaging.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

1092. Multiple Genes for Autism

Professor David Skuse explains that it is highly probable that many different genes cause autism, with each gene contributing a small part to the symptomatology.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

1975. Autism

An overview of autism-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C

883. Treating Autism

Exploring the possiblities of 'bringing back' the brain of a child with autism.

  • ID: 1204
  • Type:
  • Source: G2C