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Autism Risk Could be Predicted by Parental Sperm

The findings of a new study have revealed that the father’s sperm could hold clues about whether the child will be at an increased risk of autism.

The findings of a new study have revealed that the father’s sperm could hold clues about whether the child will be at an increased risk of autism.

Autism spectrum disorder is a group of developmental problems that cause social, behavioral and communicational challenges.

According to the CDC, around 1 in every 68 children in the US are affected by autism spectrum disorder, and while autism is usually inherited, there is no genetic test that assesses autism risk.

“We wondered if we could learn what happens before someone [develops] autism,” the researchers said.

The researchers have now found that if genetic modifications are passed down from fathers to children, it could be possible to see them in sperm.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

 

They analyzed the DNA in the sperm of 44 fathers taken for the study, all of whom had children with signs of autism spectrum disorder.

They checked for the presence of epigenetic tags that are associated with the regulation of gene activity.

The researchers found 193 sites where the absence or presence of an epigenetic tag could be related to autism, and also found that many genes near these sites were involved in brain development.

They discovered that 4 from the 10 sites that were most strongly linked to autism were near genes that were associated with the Prader-Willi syndrome- a genetic disease that causes the same behavioral symptoms as autism.

These findings support the theory that the epigenetic patterns found in the brains of children with autism could actually be simply ‘related’ to autism.

The findings of the study are now published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

 

About Enozia Vakil

Enozia Vakil is an online entrepreneur, writer, editor and an avid reader. She has been associated with some of the best names in both online and print media, and holds a degree in Alternative Medicine.