A recent study has found that siblings with autism share more of their father’s genetic material than their mother’s. The research, conducted by scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 families with at least one child on the autism spectrum. The study found that siblings with autism shared more of their father’s genetic material than their mother’s. This suggests that certain genetic mutations or variations that contribute to autism are more likely to be passed down from fathers than mothers.
“Our future research is exciting,” said CSHL Associate Professor Ivan Iossifov. “If one of those theories or two of them prove to be true, then it opens different treatment strategies, which can, in the future, affect quite a lot of families.”
The study also found that siblings with autism were more likely to have inherited rare genetic mutations from their fathers. These mutations were found to be more common in families with multiple children on the autism spectrum. The researchers noted that the findings do not suggest that fathers are solely responsible for the development of autism in their children. Rather, they suggest that certain genetic factors may be more likely to be passed down from fathers. The study has important implications for genetic counseling and family planning. Sebat explained,
Overall, the study provides valuable insights into the genetic basis of autism and highlights the importance of considering both parents’ genetic material in understanding the condition.