In autism, intellectual disability ramps up new mutations
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Spontaneous, or de novo, mutations are elevated in people with autism, but only in those who also have intellectual disability. The unpublished data were presented 9 September at the Broad Institute Symposium on the Emerging Genetics and Neurobiology of Severe Mental Illness in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The results show that people with autism can be divided into genetic subgroups, each with a distinct mode of inheritance, says Mark Daly, co-director of the Program in Medical and Population Genetics at the Broad Institute. Daly presented the results along with Elise Robinson, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Studies have shown that severe intellectual disability tends not to be inherited, whereas family members of a person with autism often share traits of the disorder.