Recessive Gene Disruptions in Autism

The data in our latest publication in Nature Genetics refine estimates of the contribution of recessive mutations to ASD and suggest new paths for illuminating previously unknown biological pathways responsible for this condition.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects up to 1 in 59 individuals. Genome-wide association and large-scale sequencing studies strongly implicate both common variants and rare de novo variants in ASD. Recessive mutations have also been implicated but their contribution remains less well defined. Here we demonstrate an excess of biallelic loss-of-function and damaging missense mutations in a large ASD cohort, corresponding to approximately 5% of total cases, including 10% of females, consistent with a female protective effect. We document biallelic disruption of known or emerging recessive neurodevelopmental genes as well as other genes not previously implicated in ASD including FEV (FEV transcription factor, ETS family member), which encodes a key regulator of the serotonergic circuitry.


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