In a groundbreaking study published this week in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Melbourne have found that DNA of infants from mothers who had recently given birth to babies with autism was similar to that of their unaffected, unaffected, and unaffected siblings.
The study, led by Professor Mark J. Stoltenberg, was the first to show that DNA from these siblings was identical to that from a single mother’s own DNA.
In a press release announcing the study, Professor Stolts said the study was a “major milestone” in understanding how the brain develops.
“The discovery of identical DNA from mother and child is a major milestone in understanding the genetic basis of autism,” he said.
“It could lead to a more personalized approach to diagnosing autism.”
Dr. Mark Stolters, a professor of genetics at the University’s School of Biological Sciences, said the findings could help scientists identify which genes might play a role in autism and develop new therapies.
“Autism can be diagnosed and treated in a variety of ways.
For example, we can use MRI and other diagnostic tools to diagnose children who may have some sort of intellectual disability,” he told ABC News.
“There is also the possibility that genetic information could be used as an autism biomarker, and it is also possible that the biomarker could be a predictor of the future development of the disorder.”
The researchers examined the genomes of four families with three or more children with autism.
Their DNA was extracted from their mothers and analyzed for specific markers of the autism spectrum.
Their results revealed that the DNA of each child was identical, even though some had had more than one sibling.
The scientists said the results showed that autism could be diagnosed from the mother’s genetic profile, but not from her DNA alone.
“This is really important for two reasons,” Professor Stols said.
“One is that, even if the mother has had a child with autism, we do not know what the child’s autism spectrum is.
We only know what a person has in common with the mother.””
The other reason is that we don’t have any genetic markers that are relevant for the diagnosis of autism.
We only know what a person has in common with the mother.”
So the more we can learn about autism from the parents, the better we can predict who will develop autism.
“That will be very helpful for autism research.”
The study found that the mothers with children with an autism spectrum disorder had significantly higher levels of the gene known as FTO, or fusogenic activity, in their genomes than the unaffected or unaffected mothers.
“As a result, the genetic information in the mother might have been used in an early stage of the development of autism, or it might have helped to develop the disease,” Dr. Stols added.
The researchers said this is the first time they have shown that DNA extracted from an identical sibling has a similar genetic profile to that that of the mother who gave birth to the child with the autism.
The research is published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Topics:science-and-technology,science-in-general,research,autism,child-health,vaccines-and‐medical-procedures,development-science,research-organisations,science,education,health,education-and‑training,health-policy,melbourne-3000,australiaContact Peter KellyMore stories from Victoria