Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First genome scan for Autism Spectrum Disorder

A U.S. group of scientists has completed and released the first genome scan for autism spectrum disorders for use by researchers around the world.The Autism Consortium, a group of researchers, clinicians and families dedicated to radically accelerating research and enhancing clinical care for autism, said the scan was conducted using new, high-resolution technology on genetic data from more than 3,000 children with ASD and their families.The release of genetic and phenotypic autism data marks a significant achievement, said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute for Mental Health."Progress in finding the causes and cures for autism spectrum disorders rests in large part on improving the rapid access and sharing of data and resources," said Insel. "That the consortium is making the data available to the scientific community even before its own researchers have fully analyzed the information, demonstrates their high degree of commitment to and leadership in advancing autism research."Officials said the new data provide the most detailed look to date at the genetic variation patterns in families with autism.Researchers conducted the genome wide study using GeneChip microarray technology made by Affymetrix Inc, of Santa Clara, Calif.